Magazine article The Fader

Toumani Diabate

Magazine article The Fader

Toumani Diabate

Article excerpt

* Very few men in this world can claim true mastery of anything, let alone a 700-year-old instrument made from cowhide and calabash that, when played expertly, literally sounds like a bubbling brook in heaven (for those who've been to heaven already). Toumani Dicbote is that man-sought after by everyone from Bjork to Ali Farka Toure for his astonishingly beautiful kora playing--and he has just finished an album of solo compositions, Mande Variations. Because of his brilliantly idiosyncratic style, Mande is an album difficult to compare to anything other than Toumani s only other solo kora work, 1987's Kaira. In that comparison, it is more devastating, more intricate and will probably make you cry if you listen to it stoned.


Why did you go back to solo kora after 20 years?

Today everybody is always following the material side of things. We ore not doing anything for ourselves. It's too much for humans; it's too much for us. You've got to think about where you've come from. Then you can make peace, you can make love, you can make more understanding for the world. When you're tired and you listen to this, it makes you quiet. The kora is me. My message is a positive way. That's the Mande Variations.

How did you record it? It's just one take.

The whole album? Yeah, at once, in two hours.

Wow. That's my job. I didn't learn the kora, the kora was a gift. I said thank you. Thanks God.

How does one come to play kora in Mali? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.