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Album Review

Multi-instrumentalist Kélétigui Diabaté is probably best known for his role playing the xylophone-like balafon in Habib Koité's band, although he has an extensive and influential history in Malian music. On this solo outing he teams with various family and friends, including Koité himself (who also offers "friendly musical supervision") and kora genius Toumani Diabaté. There's a great deal of magic here, both in the combinations of instruments and voices (at times). Diabaté's son proves himself a fine balafon player when he appears, and daughter Many shows huge promise as a singer on "Samba Koro." This is a very spare disc, usually stripped down to two instruments, but for all that there's a fullness and complexity to the music, as on "Sontaoula," where Diabaté teams with Djelimady Tounkara from the Super Rail Band, whose flowing, lyrical style is a perfect foil for the balafon. It all closes as a family affair, Diabaté with his son and both his daughters on the low-key "Yafa." Overall, this release might fly under the radar, but it's well worth seeking out.

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Born: 1930

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Kélétigui Diabaté is a master of the balafon, a xylophone-like instrument with rosewood keys suspended on a bamboo frame over gourd resonators. A founder of Formation A, one of Mali's first bands, in the early '60s, Diabaté went on to play with the Ambassadors and guitarist Salif Keita. Since 1993, Diabaté has performed in Mali with the Symmetric Orchestra,...
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Sandiya, Kélétigui Diabaté
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: Apr 01, 2004

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