Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Kassé Mady Diabaté – Fununke Saya

As summer hots up so does excitement over the UK’s season of music and performing arts festivals. At two festival’s in particular – Glastonbury and Womad – it is cheering to see Malian musicians featuring prominently once more. However instead of concentrating on Hub favourites Songhoy Blues and Tinariwen (there will be plenty of time for this) instead we have a Hub début for Kassé Mady Diabaté.

Though apparently not a relation, Diabaté is similar in sound to Toumani Diabate. Indeed, as Youtube poster WitnessTheDivine writes, Toumani and Kassé have crossed paths on a several occasions, including on the Spanish Flamenco West African collaborative project Songhai where Kassé is credited as a vocalist alongside composer Toumani’s kora. Other featured big hitters are ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate and legendary producer Lucy Duran.  You can’t be half-bad if you keep such esteemed company.

Overwhelming is the temptation therefore to rush to Womad to see Kassé in action “under the stars”. A bio on the festival reads on:

“Of Kassé Mady’s most recent album, last year’s loudly applauded Kiriké, cultural review website The Arts Desk got it absolutely spot-on when they declared that it was “like sitting in a Bamako compound, late at night, under the stars, and being sung to, person to person”.”

Best way to see him ‘person to person’ this summer? See you at Womad!



Kassé Mady Diabaté – Fununke Saya

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