Inside the Isma N’Diaye Jazz Collection

Bamako, Mali
30 Nov 2019 - 31 Jan 2020

Detail of Cover Miles in Berlin

Detail of Cover Miles in Berlin

Isma N’Diaye, a living legend.

“Mister Isma N’Diaye” is certainly one of the biggest vinyl collector in the whole world, he owns a collection of 70.000 vinyls, predominantly centred around Jazz Music and filled with treasures that are now very hard to find!

In 1939, Isma, then a well-known and handsome gentleman living in Bamako, started to buy jazz, classical music and Latino vinyls. From then on he started his collection and never looked back. He travelled all around the World to establish what he considers to be a universal wealth. In his youth, he experimented with music by playing in a little orchestra in Ségou’s School…

Later on, his nephew Baby Sy who was a customs officer at the Liberian border was bringing to him all the American hits from Monrovia on a regular basis… He was the first to posses vinyls from America, which in the 1940s were totally unknown to the public. But a disk always leads to another! He is taken by the collector’s virus: gather more and better, music that is harder to find. For him, Jazz is the fruit of geniuses, it is a true enlightenment for Music… His collec- tion sums up the history of Jazz… For him, the prince of this league is Duke Ellington and the boss is Dizzy Gillespie! But he also likes Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis…

He personally rubbed shoulders with a bunch of legendary artists, and became friends with a few, such as Miles Davies, Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, members of Haragon, Celia Cruz, Diana Ross, one brother of the Jackson Family, Stevie Wonder to name a few… Isma N’Diaye, born in Segou, a public figure of Bamako, a Malian and African person- ality, is an exceptional character, he is filled with great culture, be it classical, linguis- tic, musical, fanciful, eclectic… He is polyglot, Bambaraphile, latin lover, and always expresses himself out of purity in any of the many languages he masters; he fluently reads and speaks French, Arabic, Wolof, English and Peule…

He studied in France alongside his group of friends and as a son of French a diplomat he had the privilege to access Paris’ fanciest places. He even had a mem- bership in the select Saint-Germain des Près club where he met with intellectuals and artists. With their degrees and privileged access this generation could have easily stayed and worked in France but in the light of African independences and their love for their country they returned.

Isma N’Diaye was also a collector of books, cars and watches! If you want to see his collection all you need to do is to come to Bamako. Let’s listen to the first snippets of Mali’s first sound Library, currently under construction.




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