Toumani Diabate live

Toumani Diabate live @ St George’s Cathedral


WHERE/ WHEN: St George’s Cathedral (Fri Oct 2, from 7pm)

Kora maestro Toumani Diabate mediates traditions inherited from Mali’s ancient Mande Empire through globetrotting jazz, blues and electro frequencies. A lifelong Bamako resident, Diabat? rose to global acclaim almost 20 years ago when he recorded the world’s first solo kora album Kaira. Since then his career has been characterised by a fierce refusal to erect a line between an ancient locality and a modern cosmopolis.

“My music has a history and a legend. My music has a geography. It’s for communication. I think the best way to communicate today is the music. So I really want to know, today, how come the kora is not in Hollywood?” asks Diabate. With this in mind he has released several albums with his long-simmering big band Symmetric Orchestra, collaborated with everyone from Bjork to Damon Albarn and engaged in complex dialogues with blues’ guitarist Ali Farka Toure, Spanish group Ketama, blues road warrior Taj Mahal and more.

This polyglot genealogy informs his second solo album The Mande Variations (2008) which hints at everything from jazz to blues and classical, as Diabate channels 71 generations of collective memory through lush polyrhythms and haunting earthy-ethereal melodies.

Selected Recordings: Kaira (Hannibal/Rykodisc, 1991); New Ancient Strings (Hannibal/Rykodisc, 1999); Kulanjan (Hannibal/Rykodisc/1999); In The Heart Of The Moon (World Circuit, 2005); Boulevard De L’independance (World Circuit, 2006); The Mande Variations (World Circuit, 2008).


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