The Mande Variations
Mali's Toumani Diabate has become a veritable household name within the last few years, with a great deal of crossover exposure having come from his work with Bjork on her Volta album, culminating in performances at the Glastonbury festival both as a part of her touring band and as a solo artist in his own right. This album for World Circuit will further cement Diabate's reputation as a singularly talented musician, widely celebrated as the world's finest kora player and one of the very greatest instrumentalists to have emerged from Africa in recent times. Over the course of an hour these eight pieces showcase Diabate's peerless technique on the instrument as well as a finely tuned compositional ear. Take for example the near inconceivably elaborate high velocity runs on 'Ali Farkar Toure' (Diabate's composition in tribute to the Malian musical legend and regular musical sparring partner of the title): despite the kind of flurried notes Diabate plucks from his instrument, they all resound with such clarity and strength. You'd be extremely hard-pressed to find a more harmonically sophisticated and masterfully realized suite of instrumental acoustic music anywhere.
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