The Dimi mint Abba Archives Volume 6: Mesa y Lopez # 41, Las Palmas, 2010.

Dimi mint Abba left us seven years ago in Rabat, Morocco.  On May 22, 2011 she suffered a cerebral hemmorhage while performing in Laayoune, in the home of Hamdi ould Errachid, a businessman and politician from a powerful Saharan family.  Dimi was immediately taken to the Hopital Moulaye el Hacen Ben el Mehdi in Laayoune.  Three days later she was transferred to a private clinic in Rabat, where she passed away on the morning of June 4. 

Dimi was gregarious and hospitable, living at the center of a web of friendships that cut across tribes and generations.  She was Mauritania's only truly national artist, equally appreciated by Beydane, Pulaar and Soninke audiences.  Over the course of her thirty year career she performed with virtually every Beydane artist, with Pulaar stars like Baaba Maal, with Youssou N'Dour, and Ali Farka Toure (who supposedly proclaimed her Africa's greatest singer).  Dimi is the singer who popularized the esoteric arts of the iggawen, the art music that was traditionally performed under a nomadic tent for a select group of afficionados.

Dimi was also infamous among her closest friends for her lifestyle, she loved to stay up all night, talking, laughing, and playing cards, drinking mint tea and smoking too much.  She was never able to follow the nagging advice to watch her diet, to exercise, to slow down.  By 2010, Dimi's voice had started to fray.  But, up until her last performances, she sang with deep feeling and conviction.

This post features one of Dimi's most moving later recordings.  In late 2010 Dimi was invited to perform in the Canary Islands by Ichimini mint Hemmam, the daughter of the Mauritanian entrepreneur, poet, filmmaker, and cinema owner Hemmam ould Mohammed el Mokhtar (usually known under the name Hemmam Fall or El Melik Hemmam), 1912-1979.  This is a beautifully recorded intimate recording of Dimi performing solo, accompanying herself on the ardin.  It is a nice bookend to this solo recording made two decades earlier.

Download Dimi mint Abba - Mesa y Lopez # 41

Dimi introduces the event, saying 'This recording was made by me, Dimi mint Abba, for my dear Sister Ichimini mint Hemmam.  I can't call her my friend because she is my sister, and that is the truth.  This recording is dedicated to someone who will remain nameless [most likely Ichimini's secret lover].  I also dedicate this recording to Ezha mint Hemmam [Ichimini's sister].  This recording was made in Las Palmas, Mesa y Lopez # 41'What follows is an hour of Dimi singing for what was most probably an audience of no more than a half-dozen people she has known for decades.  She takes her time, her voice expressing her love for her audience.

This is one of my favorite Dimi recordings; her diminished voice deeply moves me.