What People Are Saying About Bamako Sounds
"Accessible and heartfelt, Bamako Sounds is itself largely musical in its interweaving of inventive musical criticism, scholarly analysis, and the author's work as a musician."
— AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths, University of London
“Ryan Skinner’s Bamako Sounds is undoubtedly the most intelligent book I’ve read about contemporary Bamako in general, and its music scene in particular. It’s an important work, less for what it says about a given set of musical styles than for what is says about Mali’s wider cultural landscape, about the ways Malian people today understand who they are and how they relate to each other and the rest of the world.”
—Bruce Whitehouse, Bridges from Bamako
“What makes [Bamako Sounds] one of the most important contributions to Africanist (musical) scholarship of the recent past is… that it has much else to offer of a more locally grounded, intellectually astute and at the same time culturally conscientious kind…. In chapter after chapter, case study after case study, Skinner parses an impressively wide-ranging set of issues, musical genres, creative artists, performance spaces and media.”
—Veit Erlmann, African Music
"Ryan Skinner’s excellent Bamako Sounds talks about music as “a privileged mode of moral expression in Bamako today” which enacts a “situated, value-infected” set of encounters he calls an “Afropolitan ethics” (2015, 1). He follows Achille Mbembe’s concept as developed in Sortir de la Grande Nuit (2010). Skinner describes the lives of urban musicians and their attempts to be both global and local, as well as their navigation of Mande and Islamic ethics."
—Ingrid Monson, Current Musicology
"Ryan T. Skinner has produced a fresh theoretical text that uses continental Afropolitanism to discuss ethics and aesthetics, moralities and social positions of contemporary musicians in Bamako. It is an important work that can be used as reference to anyone with an interest in Sociocultural Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, African Studies, and Mande Studies."
—Theodore Konkouris, Anthropos
"Thanks to a well-defined theoretical agenda complemented by a well-balanced book structure, an undeniable skill for ethnographic descriptions, a catchy narrative structure of the chapters, and a careful analysis of the song lyrics mainly in Bambara, Skinner not only offers a clear framework to listen to and interpret the multilayered Malian musicians’ discourses in a postcolonial ‘Afropolitan’ world, but also simply reasserts and brilliantly demonstrates how music is a privileged site for addressing collective and individual as well as political, social, and economic issues that are at stake in postcolonial Africa."
—Elina Djebbari, Journal of African History
"Perhaps there is no other study that takes more seriously the task of exploring the intricate ways in which music and ethics go hand in hand in contemporary urban Africa than Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music by Ryan Thomas Skinner."
--Yair Hashachar, Journal of World Popular Music