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

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Although it would take an expert in this field to say whether this 15 track collection (with a bonus disc of mesmerising music by Ahmad Sham's qawwali group) is a fair overview, you can't help but... > Read more

Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang: En Yay Sah (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang: En Yay Sah (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

This excitingly duffed-up world beat/low-rent psychedelic rock has a wild urban pedigree which comes through in its stupidly different but absolutely addictive Afro-meets-Manhattan groove. Juju... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jarrett, Haden, Motian: Hamburg '72 (ECM/Ode)

Jarrett, Haden, Motian: Hamburg '72 (ECM/Ode)

The death this year of the great bassist/composer Charlie Haden robbed the world -- and not just the jazz world -- of one of the great artists of our time. It would take far too long here to go... > Read more

BARBRA STREISAND CONSIDERED (2014): The born star and the way we were

BARBRA STREISAND CONSIDERED (2014): The born star and the way we were

One of the funniest and most bitchy pieces of music writing I've ever read was by David Rakoff about a Barbra Streisand farewell concert in 2000. La Streisand (as she is sometimes known)... > Read more