Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Taj Mahal, Toumani Diabate|
Genres: Blues, World Music, Pop
Perennial blues road warrior Taj Mahal and Malian kora (harp-lute) ambassador Toumani Diabate join forces, blend textures, and intermingle idioms on this cleanly produced 12-song set, recorded in 1998 in Athens. Their comm... more »
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Perennial blues road warrior Taj Mahal and Malian kora (harp-lute) ambassador Toumani Diabate join forces, blend textures, and intermingle idioms on this cleanly produced 12-song set, recorded in 1998 in Athens. Their common ground is best tilled on "Atlanta Kaira" and the title track, where the plucky filigrees and glittering tone of the kora sound right at home with Taj's darker, barking National Reso-Phonic steel. "Ol' Georgie Buck" and their canny cover of Muddy Waters's "Catfish Blues" are the album's blues banners, which find Diabate's kora delightfully incongruous, while the walking African ballad "Tunkaranke" leans most heavily toward the motherland. Fleshed out with fine vocals by Taj, Kasse Mady Diabate, and Malian chanteuse Ramata Diakate ("Queen Bee"), and other African instruments, the sound is defiantly acoustic, intimate, and surprisingly true. --James Rotondi
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Ol' gruffvoice meets silverstrings
Mr I Graves | Yorkshire, England | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Taj Mahal goes way back - I had a track on a sampler album, circa 1968, and he's always been a master of the rough-voiced blues. But gruff often covers tender and on this remarkable recording with Toumani Diabate he shows that tender side. The kora, Diabate's instrument, is a lot more lyrical and light than the guitar, and the virtuoso playing brings an uplift to songs from the south (States, that is) and Africa. The whole thing works, because the quality is there, and there is an understanding between the musicians that proves yet again that music is truly universal. This record sounds, I guarantee, like nothing else you've heard."
Striking at the Heart of the Blues ... Hitting Dead Center
Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 10/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Taj Mahal (American jazz & blues artist) and Toumani Diabate (famous Mali kora musician) explore the roots of the blues from its very source ... they show us how remnants of the past are contained in the blues music of today. The music and oral tradition of the griots, who sang the praises of the kings in ancient times, plus the music of the hunters, termed termed wassoulou, form the basis and foundation of the blues. Ancient instruments, such as, the kora, a 21 stringed, harp-like instrument combine with modern blues guitar music. There are astonishing improvisations and melodies which have the listener, tapping one's fingers and moving one's body in response to the music ... Some of the songs are classics, from either Mali or the American blues, others are original songs which arose during the jam sessions. In either case, it is great music by anyone's definition or standards ...The music on this CD is so very pure, authentic and original, that it convinces this listener, that indeed, these musicians found "the source". Although, Africa is a vast, large continent, when I first heard the music of Mali, I was captivated, it spoke to my heart. The spirit, feeling and emotions are enlivend when listening to the instruments and voices which combine on this CD. In magical ways this music carries a message of joy, of life, of energy, of beauty, of peace, serenity, of a balance and harmony in the universe ... Erika Borsos (erikab93)"
The Primordial Roots of Music
DJ ProFusion - WorldFusionRadio.com | Evanston, IL | 02/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Bottom Line: An organic roots album with simple but evocative melodies and accompaniment. Surpising blend of two musical traditions more similar than different. Like long lost brothers reuniting. Is there a primordial music? Something with roots so deep that all human music sprung from it. It may be impossible to answer that question, but one has to wonder if Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate have managed to tap into that primordial musical root. There has been a growing consciousness of the similarities between old-school American blues and the music of the African nation of Mali. Albums such as Mali to Memphis (Putumayo) have explored that synchronicity by compiling songs from Malian and American blues artists. The album Kulanjan takes the synchronicity much further. Living blues and jazz legend Taj Mahal had been interested in Malian music since the early 70's and had always wanted to explore it fully. Finally, he decided to take the time to do so. He brought seven musicians from Mali, including kora master Toumani Diabate to Athens, Georgia in April 1999 to record a blues-Malian album. Like fraternal twins separated at birth, the musical styles of Mahal and Diabate complement each other perfectly. Both musicians were amazed at how natural was the blend of their traditions. All 12 songs on the album were recorded in only a few days, each track needed only one or two takes. Both artists remarked that the songs arranged themselves springing out of a jam session on the porch of a house in Georgia. The naturalness, the sheer organic flavor of the music bears that out. Diabate's 21-string kora (think of a tenor guitar) forms a sweet, mercurial rhythmic counterpart to Mahal's lush, steel-bodied blues crawl. Meanwhile, the other musicians add delicate textures to the air's warm, acoustic interplay with an array of finger-picked harps, lutes, and the xylophone-like balafon. Mahal and Diabate take turns singing. The two musical cultures blend into a singular, slow, comfortable, folk lilt. Kulanjan is a must for anyone seeking greater insight into the roots of the blues. Fans of folk, blues, and African music will find Kulanjan a fascinating and eye-opening look into the roots of those musical genres. It is great music to play while writing or working as it lifts the spirits of all who listen."