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Diabaté

NEW ALBUM "KIRIKE"

NEW ALBUM "KIRIKE"

Diabaté

Kassé Mady

Kassé Mady

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SONGLINES MAGAZINE BEST ALBUM 2014

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"AN IMMACULATELY RECORDED, INTIMATE SET..."

The Guardian

"AN IMMACULATELY RECORDED, INTIMATE SET..."

The Guardian

Financial Times

Financial Times

Evening Standard

Evening Standard

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SONGLINES MAGAZINE BEST ALBUM 2014

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MUSIC

Kassé Mady Diabaté’s new album Kiriké (Horse’s saddle) will be released on 27 October 2014 on No Format!. The album provides a platform for Kassé Mady to celebrate his position as one of Mali’s greatest voices in distinguished company. The album is the third in a series born out of the friendship between the young Malian kora maestro Ballaké Sissoko and the iconoclastic French cellist Vincent Segal. Already this friendship has resulted in two beautiful albums, Chamber Music (2009) and its follow-up At Peace (2012), both released on the No Format! label. Kiriké, like the other two albums in the series, exemplifies a more intimate musical current that has been emerging in Bamako, one that’s closer to the acoustic sound of tradition.

 

Having long been admirers of Kassé Mady, Ballaké and Vincent dreamt of assembling a royal ‘cast’ around him and making an album worthy of his extraordinary voice. So it was that three virtuoso soloists came together, also scions of Mali’s great griot dynasties. Ballaké Sissoko is the son of Djelimady Sissoko, the musical giant who recorded the album Ancient Strings, a cornerstone of modern kora music. Balafon player Lansiné Kouyaté is the son of Siramori Diabaté (and so related to Kassé Mady). And ngoni player Makan Tounkara, aka ‘Badié’, grew up in the heart of the Instrumental Ensemble, his father being one of its directors.

 

The centrepiece is Kassé Mady’s voice. He sings in Bambara, the dominant language of southern Mali, and in doing so ‘the man with the voice of velvet’ reveals an altogether different personality: an old man of the soil grumbling at the margins of his field in a language infinitely rootsier and more flavoursome than the grand Malinké of the classic griot praise-songs. A fifty-year long career has not blunted Kassé Mady’s high-notes, but rather added richness to the astonishing gentleness of his baritone, making his voice better suited to this ‘chamber music’ than to the brilliant sheen of fusionistic pop.  It is a sound attuned to the modern ear, a consecration of one of Mali’s greatest voices.

 

Meanwhile the trio represent three major elements in Manding music: the kora music of Casamance, the balafon of the central zone and the more bitter sounding ngoni, so reminiscent of the northern deserts of Mali. And the music on Kiriké keeps faith with that contemporary acoustic Bamako sound; the subtlety and simplicity of Vincent Segal’s approach allows the musicians to pour out their art with liberated ease, and show new facets of their talent. The ngoni, at once melodic and percussive, takes pole position, its stunning improvisations (‘Douba Diabira’) promising to dazzle amateurs of both Bach and jazz, of the gnaoua of Morocco and the trance music of Madagascar. The balafon and the kora conjure up novel moods, as in the liquid accompaniment they provide on the song ‘Sadjo’. And drawing all the sounds together is the stunning voice of Kassé Mady, dazzling with its range and power.

 

With full transcriptions of the Bambara lyrics in both English and French in the sleeve notes, listeners will be given a unique insight to 13th Century Mali with Manding themes such as living in peace with your neighbours, adultery hunting and heroism expressed through griot symbols such as the hippopotamus, the kingfisher and the horse’s saddle (the meaning of Kiriké).

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