Next on Ugandan label Nyege Nyege Tapes is DJ Diaki with Balani Fou.

DJ Diaki is Diaki Kone, an originator of balani show, a popular music played at street parties across Mali, distinguishable for its high-energy balafon samples, crashing drums, and live remixes.

Balani show dates back to the late ’90s, as DJs with sound systems began to animate social ceremonies, primarily because they were cheaper than a balafon group. The DJ credited as the originator is Seydou Bagayoko, who mentored DJ Diaki and DJ Sandji in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Early on, DJs would play cassettes, but to create more dynamic music, they began to augment songs with drum pads, crashing coupé decalé rhythms, cymbals, and whistles. DJs would dub their remixed versions directly onto new tapes to play at their parties. Over time, the sound made its way to Bamako, the capital and largest city of Mali, and DJs also began remixing on the fly. This was followed by a brief period of CDJs before the current incarnation of laptop DJs.

The sound thrived through the mid-2000s, and DJ Senateur even performed an official version on Malian television, but in recent years, it has returned to its street culture roots, played in neighborhoods in informal block parties.

In smaller villages across Mali, such as where Diaki lives, the sound is a little different, with a faster tempo and tranced out loops that “extend into mind-melting repetition,” Nyege Nyege explains. “It’s much faster in the countryside,” Diaki adds. “The people in the village want the music fast. If someone goes to my parties, it’s impossible they dance the whole time.” His video channel illustrates this point.

Balani Fou, meaning “Crazy Balani,” comprises 12 of Diaki’s high-energy remixes, released for the first time.

Nyege Nyege Tapes is label based in Kampala, Uganda, exploring, producing and releasing outsider music from around the region. Balani Fou is its 19th release.


TAPE 1 / A1 / 1. But Show DD 1 Mix
TAPE 1 / A2 / 2. But Show Diaki Dj 6
TAPE 1 / A3 / 3. But Bomou 2
TAPE 1 / A4 / 4. But Show Diaki Dj 8
TAPE 1 / A5 / 5. Calaman Top Mix DD 2019
TAPE 1 / B1 / 6. MIX Introu 1
TAPE 1 / B2 / 7. MIX Introu 2
TAPE 1 / B3 / 8. Shekey Mix
TAPE 1 / B4 / 9. Show Time Mix
TAPE 1 / B5 / 10. Calaman Diaki 5
TAPE 2 / A / 11. Diablo Mix
TAPE 2 / B / 12. Harmattan

Balani Fou LP is out on February 20 on limited edition cassette and digital. Meanwhile, you can stream previews below and pre-order here.