Kasse Mady Diabate
Hemisphere/Discos Corason Musica/Narada World
Maybe I am a jock rider, but I seriously have not heard a Malian music CD that I have not liked. Their soulful blues are so closely linked to our own tradition, one cannot help but feel some sort of affinity. Their playing is so melodic, so tender, that a weeping beauty is all that can be heard. Kassi Kasse is no different. Exploring Mali’s griot tradition, Diabate (which is, if I’m not mistaken, a very important name in the griot heritage) refrains from the elaborate guitar workings of Ali Farka Toure or the “pop” sensations of Habib Koiti. Instead, what you get is, if you will, a “Mali Unplugged,” a far more organic album; but no less beautiful. All balafons, djembes, and n’gonis, with Diabate’s immaculately plaintive voice, this disc is reminiscent of Mamadou Diabate’s amazing kora album, Tunga, or Taj Mahal and Toumani (you guessed it) Diabate’s Mali/American blues fusion album, Kulanjan. Kassi Kasse is heartfelt and warm with moments of true beauty that will leave you marveling. The Mali machine rolls on.