Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Pop
Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, a collaborator in the Songhai and Kulanjan projects as well as the New Ancient Strings album, might just be the best player in the world on his 21-string, harplike instrument. Here, ac... more »
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Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, a collaborator in the Songhai and Kulanjan projects as well as the New Ancient Strings album, might just be the best player in the world on his 21-string, harplike instrument. Here, accompanied by Keletigui Diabate on balafon (a kind of xylophone) and Basekou Kouyate on ngoni, he tackles original and traditional material in beautiful fashion. Notes fall in rippling cascades from his fingers, whether on the dainty court song "Marielle" or the title track. The speed and dexterity of his playing, and of his ideas, is staggering, and his complete command of the instrument and its possibilities makes this album a joy. The trio arrangements give plenty of time to all players, although center stage is undoubtedly Toumani. While blissfully African, this is a record that transcends geography and ascends to the sublime. --Chris Nickson
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Gorgeous music from Mali
Joanna Daneman | Middletown, DE USA | 08/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album brings together three traditional Mali instruments; the kora (harp-lute), the balafon, a type of marimba or xylophone and the ngoni--a mandolin-like instrument with a flexible neck. The three virtuosi on this album are the kora master Toumani Diabate, Keletigui Diabete on balafon and Basekou Kouyate on the ngoni.If you like "New Ancient Strings", something of a hit album in the World Music genre, you will be pleased with this offering. While the mix of instruments does not have the deep, hypnotic rocking style of the dual kora in "New Ancient Strings" the mix of the three traditional instruments is good to listen to. The music has a very traditional sound, yet is tuneful and completely accessible to any listener. The skirling harp riffs are shored up nicely by the "bones" of the balafon's wooden tonking, and the ngoni is fascinating--it's flexible neck produces half-tone notes like an ancient precursor of the bender or "whammy" bar on an electric guitar. This music dates far, far back to the 13th Century kingdoms of Mali, and even before, when the kora was the hunter-harp. I wonder if King David's shepherd's harp didn't sound like the kora, and if the music to which the Psalms were sung sounded anything at all like this? We can only imagine about this, as music of the ancients is lost to us. But this sound is timeless, and I play my Toumani Diabate CD's over and over. They certainly speak to me and if the kora was the instrument David played to Saul, I can attest that it has tremendous powers to lighten the soul."
Another side of Africa
nadav haber | jerusalem Israel | 07/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There may be some who still think that all Africa has to offer musically is the drums. While it is true that Africa has some of the most amazing percussionists - it has much more than that. This and other Diabate CD's are outstanding for not containing any drumming, thus sounding very light and gentle. The musicians here don't seem to miss the drums to much. The interplay of belaphone, ngoni and kora creates endless rhythmic combinations. This is very mellow music, a music for relaxing and contemplating. The tracks all start slowly and develop into reach sounds of musical freedom. I like all the instruments, while the kora is given center stage. I don't know if Toumani is indeed the greatest in the world and I resent such declarations. But he certainly has a lot to say on this instrument, as do the other musicians here. This is music for all humanity, gentle and elevating."
m_noland | Washington, DC United States | 08/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Folk-music based intrumentals from Mali. This disk works as both foreground and background music: the mood is contemplative but the playing is extraordinarily demanding - so the listener can either listen "hard" and be astonished by kora-player Toumani Diabate's virtuosity, or one can lay back and just let the music flow over you. The disk's production values are not the best, but it just adds to the air of authenticity of three skilled musicians interacting in the moment without the intermediation of studio trickery."