Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will perform together Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 7.30pm at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Toumani Diabaté will play kora and Clark Rundell will conduct the orchestra. Toumani’s music will be specially arranged by Nico Muhly and Ian Gardiner.
Toumani Diabaté is credited with bringing the beauty of the 21-stringed kora to a wider audience around the world. The kora is West Africa’s harp. It’s made by sticking a thick pole through the side of a large gourd covered in a cow skin and then attaching 21 strings (traditionally fishing line) in two rows to both the pole and a bridge on the gourd. An astonishingly gifted impresario, Diabaté has recently been described as the ‘Hendrix of the Kora’. He is not afraid to collaborate with other musical traditions and won a Grammy in 2006 for his album of delicate duets with Ali Farka Touré.
"Any time I play a kora what results could be a CD…I cannot explain what is happening when I play," says Toumani Diabaté. "It’s like I’m fighting something. But you don’t need to be African to understand the message. Just sit down and listen carefully. It will touch you."
Commissioned by Barbican and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall & Events, produced by the Barbican and supported by the Arts Council of England and Liverpool Culture Company Ltd as part of the 2008 European Capital of Culture Programme.