The Mande Variations (Nonesuch, 2008)
Son of Sidiki Diabate, one the most celebrated kora players , Toumani Diabate has blazed a career worthy of the Diabate name and legacy of this family of Mande griot musicians from Mali. After twenty years since his first solo and debut recording Kaira and countless collaborations with stellar artists Ketama, Ali Farka Toure and Taj Mahal, Toumani Diabate has finally released his second solo CD The Mande Variations.
Calling on the spirit of the past twenty years worth of personal and musical experience, Mr. Diabate has infused his solo work on The Mande Variations by the connecting Malian griot music to the influences of Western pop traditions, flamenco, blues and Indian classical without losing sight of Mali’s traditional sound.
The bright, iridescent sound on opening track "Si Naani" and following tracks "Elyne Road," "Ali Farka Toure," dedicated to the famed musician, and the traditional composition "Djourou Kara Nany" must surely be all the proof needed that Mr. Diabate is one of the true masters of this West African harp. Shimmering notes cascade across a musical landscape of The Mande Variations as Mr. Diabate plies his considerable talent of creating a melange of bass line, melody and accompaniment. The result is simply stunning.
With his mastery set center stage, its as if Mr. Diabate has created a musical African fairy tale with The Mande Variations.
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Author: TJ Nelson
TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.
Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.
Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.