Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

 |   |  <1 min read

Toumani Diabate: Ya Fama
Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Copies of this uplifting album by Diabate from Mali come with an intelligent and interesting DVD-doco which shines a light on the culture of the griot -- a caste of hereditary musicians-cum-storytellers and counsellors to the influential -- and also explains that unusual band name: Diabate wanted to bring together the traditions of the griot (and the old instruments like balafon) with the contemporary world (of electric guitars and keyboards) and keep them in balance and harmony.

Symmetric.

For the past 10 years Diabate -- who plays the kora, a complex but hypnotic string instrument which sounds like a harp -- and his band have played at a club in Bamako and, as he says in the liner notes to this album, people at the club are free to enjoy the music without the obligations of tradition.

Which means we get invited in to this lovely music also, and aren't expected to know all about griot.

Part way between an orchestra, a dance band, a folk group and a jazz band, the Symmetric Orchestra make music which is warm and inviting, and always melodically interesting.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Nistha Raj: Exit 1 (nistharaj.com)

Nistha Raj: Exit 1 (nistharaj.com)

Those fresh from Womad will attest that some of the most interesting music is made at the interface of cultures, and this album is further evidence. Texas-raised Nistha Raj (now living in... > Read more

Various Artists: Rangarang; Pre-revolutionary Iranian Pop (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

Various Artists: Rangarang; Pre-revolutionary Iranian Pop (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

In Elvis Presley's trophy room at Graceland in Memphis -- more a trophy annex, with gold discs, costumes, awards, police badges and posters -- there is, framed on the wall, a dramatic headline from... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JIMI HENDRIX AND ALAN DOUGLAS: The fireball and the keeper of the flame

JIMI HENDRIX AND ALAN DOUGLAS: The fireball and the keeper of the flame

The name Alan Douglas raises mixed feelings among Jimi Hendrix fans. By a series of canny and right-place, right-time manoeuvres after the death of Hendrix in 1970, Douglas -- a former jazz... > Read more

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

If you applied cold logic, on paper most band line-ups wouldn't make much sense. With hindsight you can see the internal faultlines which would pull apart so many of them. None of that matters... > Read more