BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

 |   |  <1 min read

Toumani Diabate: El Nabiyouna
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

Here's one of the best world music albums of the year: a rare solo outing by the Malian kora master Toumani Diabate who learned from the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure also from his homeland (there is a track here dedicated to Farka Toure with whom he performed on the wonderful In the Heart of the Moon album).

Like his mentor, Diabate has been outward looking and has collaborated with Damon Alban, jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd and bluesman Taj Mahal, appeared on Bjork's most recent album, and has worked with a flamenco group as well as his own Symmetric Orchestra.

But for these often improvised sessions he sat down to play solo kora (a 21-stringed instrument) on pieces which are mostly introspective -- although on Kaounding Cissoko he has a spring in his step.

Here is masterclass in musicianship -- is he the Ravi Shankar of the kora? -- and a simple, delightful and powerfully moving album. 

Share It

Your Comments

Richard Parrish - Jun 9, 2009

Yes, it is a fabulous album and it was fantasic to see him perform and talk in a workshop at WOMAD Taranaki 2 years ago. If you like this album then I suggest you try the brilliant duet album he did with Ballake Sissoko - New Ancient Strings 1999 and Jarabi 2001.

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Amadou Diangne: Introducing Amadou Diagne (World Music Network)

Amadou Diangne: Introducing Amadou Diagne (World Music Network)

Singer/songwriter Diagne from Senegal comes from impeccable pedigree. He was born into a griot family, started on drums at age four, played in the Senegalese National Band and his song Senegal won... > Read more

Pacific Curls: Pacifi Celta (Pacific Curls)

Pacific Curls: Pacifi Celta (Pacific Curls)

The trio at the core of Pacific Curls made two "interesting" albums, but "interesting" is a word which suspends judgment. They didn't win me much, but most of this one certainly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

The Cramps' passion for old rock'n'roll is well known: they are archivists for music styles, bands and old singles which might have otherwise been forgotten or lost. This double disc (with a... > Read more

McMinnville, Oregon: Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose folly

McMinnville, Oregon: Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose folly

In a flat field outside the small town of McMinnville in northwest Oregon is a building so large that cars visibly slow on the highway so the occupants can take a look at it. Even in America --... > Read more