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 from Elsewhere articles index

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

Further proof -- if any more were needed -- that "world music" is a very slippery and loose term. These Womad visitors deliver a heady brew of Afro-Colombian grooves, soul-funk, hip-hop... > Read more

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

By coincidence Elsewhere here acknowledges the son of another music master in the same week as we pick up the album by Jakob Dylan. Kamel El Harrachi is the Paris-based son of the late oud... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE MUSICIAN: A Fairly True Tale

THE MUSICIAN: A Fairly True Tale

The young man settled himself into the chair and placed his new guitar case on the floor beside him. His face raised into a natural if boyish smile, the outline of his cheeks rimmed by a flat, soft... > Read more

Ben Sidran: Dylan Different (Nardis)

Ben Sidran: Dylan Different (Nardis)

There’s no shortage of Dylan tribute albums but this is certainly different: pianist-singer Sidran takes his lowkey, jazzy speak-sing style to Dylan songs in the company of a small band and... > Read more