Monday, March 03, 2008

Mali Monday #3: Toumani Diabaté

Image found here.

Official website

Wikipedia entry

"If West Africa or Mali were a living being, griots would be the blood running through the veins."

Griots are dynastic musicians: for these families, music is a trade passed down from parents to children. Diabaté's family's involvement in music, including his son, totals 72(!) generations in all. His father was a master of the kora, the versatile and ethereal west African harp. Diabaté himself, as you'll see in this promotional video for his new album, Mandé Variations, not only perpetuates this music, some of it centuries old, he also expands its idiom to incorporate other African and Western musics.

The video is long-ish but well worth the time: it's part biography, part instruction in how to play the kora, part how to build koras, and a discussion of the album as well:

And one more: Diabaté accompanied by Danny Thompson of Ketama on bass, included because of the close-ups of Diabaté's fingers as they play and because the song is beautiful:

Also: Diabaté's "big band," the Symmetric Orchestra, a pan-West African assemblage of players, is not to be missed. Here is an NPR story about the Orchestra, with three full-length tracks from their album, Boulevard de l'Independance

1 comment:

Jeff said...
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