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Markus James Revisits Mali to Record New CD/DVD

U.S. Bluesman Markus James during a recording
session in Timbuktu using Korg’s D12 and D1600 multitrack recorders

Building on the inspiration of his 2001 world music release Nightbird, guitarist/songwriter Markus James returned to the West African nation of Mali to create his latest album and DVD, Timbuktoubab. James wrote and recorded the new collection of songs, evoking the ancient roots of blues, with his Malian bandmates and their collection of traditional African instruments. To capture his recording, James used the Korg D12 and D1600 Digital Recording Studios.

“Portable, affordable, versatile gear really can make the difference in being able to do something,” says James—an understatement in this case. James’ equipment had to hold up in the extreme elements of the Sahara Desert. “I have recorded with the Korg D12 and D1600 in temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, where power is frequently interrupted, and in dust clouds that envelop the town. You can imagine how many audio experts told me this would never work, this kind of gear wouldn’t make it through the extreme traveling and working conditions and that the sound quality wouldn’t hold up to radio and TV broadcast standards. I’m pleased to say that our resulting CD and film have been very well-received here in the U.S. both on radio and TV.” Timbuktoubab charted 10 weeks on the CMJ New World Top 20. The film premiered at last year’s Mill Valley Film Festival, won a prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award, and has received exposure on PBS. James is currently preparing to organize and document a January 2006 gathering of 45 Malian tribes.

For more information on Timbuktoubab, visit

For more information on Korg gear, visit