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

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

DJs like nothing more than unearthing obscurities – makes them hipper than thou – but UK archivist/platter-spinner and all round good guy Frank Goesser does us a favour with this... > Read more

Mucca Pazza: Safety Fifth (muccapazza.com)

Mucca Pazza: Safety Fifth (muccapazza.com)

What with the funky lineage out of New Orleans, the woozy sound of the late Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and the likes of the free-wheeling Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the ground has been well... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Troy Kingi

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Troy Kingi

With his debut album Guitar Party at Uncle's Bach, Troy Kingi arrived with a crash. It is a beautifully packaged double disc attributed to Troy Kingi and the Electric Haka Boogie. It seems... > Read more

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

The Twist wasn't the first dance craze of the pop era but it was certainly the biggest -- and the last. When Chubby Checker demonstrated the dance on American television in mid 1960 --... > Read more