Friday, May 2, 2014

Oh the Kora: Toumani' and Sidiki Diabate'

Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabaté: Toumani & Sidiki review – virtuoso, upbeat kora duets

(World Circuit)
4 out of 5
Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté
Attacking, rhythmic playing and flurries of rapid-fire improvisation … Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté. Photograph: Youri Lenquette

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For many young Malians, Sidiki Diabaté is a hip-hop star, known for his work with the rapper Iba One. But he is also the son ofToumani Diabaté, the world's most versatile and celebrated kora player, and a griot who can trace his ancestry back through 71 generations of hereditary musicians. It was inevitable, then, that Sidiki should also be a kora player with an understanding of Mali's ancient music, but it was equally to be expected that he should develop a kora style of his own. On their debut album of kora duets, Toumani can be heard on the left, with Diabate, on the right, driving the music on withattacking, rhythmic playing and flurries of rapid-fire improvisation. It's a virtuoso, and mostly upbeat collaboration, but the best track is the one new composition, Lampedusa, a gently exquisite lament for African migrants who died trying to reach Europe.

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