Tag Archives: kora

Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté – Lampedusa : Mali Song of the Week

Gently does it. What’s the rush? Come on, treat yourself to the grand-master of the serene and his son in this sensational duet. The double-kora combines like a pair of butterflies dancing in the breeze, the feather-like strums light enough to float on air. The song blooms and busies itself with the intricate, cascading melodies the kora – especially when under the thumbs of a Diabaté – are known for. But all the while, the song remains sturdy. It eases up periodically, flowing into a chorus of sorts. Achingly so. Where the silences between the notes create the effect. In fact it is these sudden, tiny, absences, the cold gaps in the sunlight, that define the song. You urge it on; hoping to return to the pleasant melodies.

Instead it peters out, returning home. To nothing.

Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté – Lampedusa

Sam Garbett is Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mali Development Group – www.malidg.org.uk.

To get in touch with Sam for further information he’d be happy to hear from you at sam.garbett@malidg.org.uk. Any comments and ideas for improving the Hub are especially welcome. We all look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for tuning in.

The Mali Interest Hub is an initiative run by the Mali Development Group, supported by the Alliance for Mali.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Passa Quatro

This song comes from the very long awaited second album from cello-kora duo Sissoko and Segal; Musique de Nuit. It does not disappoint as it more than matches the precision and delicacy of their first album Chamber MusicIf you’re in Bristol and are pondering what to do tonight then you could to worse that pop along to St Georges Church Concert Hall to see these two sensational musicians live. A suitably elegant venue for each achingly beautiful chord.

I will save my words for another time – a comprehensive review, forensic in detail, of the whole album has already been published on the Six Degrees Records website and is certainly worth a read. It is fascinating to read of the influences and elements captured in Musique de Nuit and it is pleasing to see Sissoko and Segal avoid the ‘2nd album syndrome’ trap by choosing not to make a futile attempt to recapture the magic of the 1st. Its clear that they are moving things forward.

Whilst you listen, I would recommend watching the gentle, simple video to this song. Take the time out of your day to enjoy the float down stream.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Passa Quatro

Sam Garbett is Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mali Development Group – www.malidg.org.uk.

To get in touch with Sam for further information he’d be happy to hear from you at sam.garbett@malidg.org.uk. Any comments and ideas for improving the Hub are especially welcome. We all look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for tuning in.

The Mali Interest Hub is an initiative run by the Mali Development Group, supported by the Alliance for Mali.

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

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Ballaké Sissoko & Ludovico Einaudi – Soutoukou

Ballaké Sissoko has a knack for getting into excellent collaborations. He must just be a really nice guy. The superb composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi and Sissoko apparently refer to each other as friends with the music they create together seen as a gift from one to the other. This week’s track of the week – taken from their collaborative album Diario Mali – certainly feels this way. Not only do the kora and the piano exchange beautifully throughout the song and the album but the recording itself captures the affection felt between the two musicians. Every now and then an audible “yeaaah” can be heard as the pair build something very special.

Malian musicians have a superb record for integration, adaptation and collaboration. Vieux Farka Touré collaborated with classical instruments on the album The Touré-Rachel Collective. There, Touré used an acoustic guitar – an instrument fairly familiar with pianos and other classical instruments. The amazing thing Touré does, like his father before him, is play, or at least adapt, ngoni songs on the guitar. What Sissoko does here is use a traditional West-African instrument and integrate it straight into very dominate classical sounds. Einaudi’s piano doesn’t seem to have met the kora half-way at all, and it does not need to. Such is Sissoko’s mastery of the kora he effortlessly plays with the piano. He makes it sound like the kora belonged there all along, as if you’d heard these instruments play together a hundred times before…

…but perhaps never this well.

 

Ballaké Sissoko & Ludovico Einaudi – Soutoukou

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Upcoming Events

The Mali Development Group will be fundraising at Stadhampton Christmas Market in south Oxfordshire on Friday the 5th of December. For further information and directions please click here.

The University of Cambridge is currently hosting a exhibition containing the work of Tim Oelman – an artist who uses hand woven tapestry and mud cloth (bogolan) to explore sign and symbol, drawing on a diversity of sources, including pre-classical European roots and modern African cultures. His guided tour will refer to the cultural identities seen in Moroccan Berber rug making and Malian bogolan. Runs till December 5th.

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Sam Garbett is Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mali Development Group – www.malidg.org.uk.

To get in touch with Sam for further information please email him directly at sam.garbett@malidg.org.uk. Any comments and ideas for improving the Hub are especially welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Mali Interest Hub is an initiative run by the Mali Development Group, supported by the Alliance for Mali.

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Track of the Week

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Mama FC

Ballaké Sissoko is about to embark on the UK tour. Starting with an appearance on BBC Two’s Later….with Jools Holland on the 29th of October, Sissoko along with his Quartet and special guest Babani Kone – and impressive musician in her own right – will be touring the UK through the whole of November. His performance in London will form part of the London Jazz Festival.

When Ballaké Sissoko last appeared as the Track of the Week it was with a track from his most recent album – the one he is presumably promoting through the tour above. However, this week we return to some of his earlier work with cellist Vincent Segal. Their collaborative works were released as in an album entitled  “Chamber Music”. This masterpiece rocketed both artists into international recognition and Sissoko has been regarded as one of the great kora players of the modern age by ever more people ever since.

To celebrate and welcome Ballaké to the United Kingdom this week’s track returns to this great collaboration. It shows off some of his greatest traits; his mastery of the kora, his trademark delicacy and effortlessness, and the soothing and subtle approach to music that must make him a dream to work alongside. Nothing is left to chance. One commentator even makes that points that “the silences are full of meaning”.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Mama FC