Borderline Latin: SMOD, "Les Dirigeants Africains" free download

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

What happens when you mix a group of outspoken African musicians whose names are Sam, Mouzy, Ousco and Donski, add a little hip-hop to their traditional Malian styles, and throw in some Manu Chao for that French-Latin spice? You get SMOD. The band and self-titled album.

SMOD was formed in Mali, West Africa in 2000. Soon after Mouzy left the band, the remaining guys decided to go on as a trio, but keep the name, in spite of the fact that the M from the acronym was gone –according to their Facebook page, they still consider Mouzy a part of the band, though they now feature Manu Sauvage playing “keyboards and machines.” They released their first cassette (that’s right) in 2002. It was called Dunia Kuntala, which translates to “the path of life,” and was recorded with the help of the producer of African duo (and Sam’s parents) Amadou & Mariam. Two years later came Ta I Tola, their second album. Around that time, they caught Manu Chao’s attention, and he decided to help them produce their next album, SMOD; released in 2010 in France, and has opened the doors for their debut US tour.

SMOD just visited NYC, and will perform in LA on August 3. Check them out and download their song “Les Dirigeants Africains” (courtesy of Nacional Records), which can be loosely translated as “African Leaders” (by the way, these African leaders sound very similar to certain Latin American political leaders). Support SMOD.


22 US / NY / Central Park Summerstage
23 US / NY / SOB’s
25 US / Pittsburgh / Shadow Lounge
27 US / Columbus / Wexner Center
28 US / Chicago / Clark Street Festival
30 US / Chicago / Jay Pritzker Pavillion
31 US / Minneapolis / the Cedar

3 US / Los Angeles / Levitt Pavilion
4 US / Santa Monica / The Central
5 US / San Francisco / Stern Groove Festival
6 US / Santa Cruz / Moe’s Alley
10 CA / Gaspé CA / Festival du Bout du Monde

Click HERE to read more “Borderline Latin” profiles. For comments and tips, please contact me at:, and for more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.