Graham Reid | | <1 min read
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.