Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Mali Music [extended]

  • Kulanjan [Hannibal, 1999] A-
  • Alkibar [World Circuit/Nonesuch, 1999] Neither
  • New Ancient Strings [Rykodisc, 1999] Dud
  • Mali Music [Astralwerks, 2002] **
  • Boulevard de l'Indépendance [Nonesuch, 2006] A-
  • The Mandé Variations [Nonesuch, 2008] Dud

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate: Kulanjan [Hannibal, 1999]
No longer does Mahal talk a bigger African diaspora than he walks. He deserves his top billing, but every other musician on this piece of serendipity is a West African retrofitting a simple little studio in Athens GA. Like the guitar hotshot he'd have turned into Stateside, costar Diabate is a virtuoso and nothing more, and his Manding songs are mostly some kind of change. But when his kora echoes the happy-hollering "Ol' Georgie Buck" or the deep-Delta "Catfish Blues," those straightforward old blues take on a filigree Diabate's percussive confederates can go to work on. And when Mahal's piano strides beneath the balafon of a Diabate named Lasana, the rhythms canter so comically you wonder who said open sesame. A-

Afel Bocoum: Alkibar [World Circuit/Nonesuch, 1999] Neither

Toumani Diabate with Balaka Sisoko: New Ancient Strings [Rykodisc, 1999] Dud

Mali Music [Astralwerks, 2002]
Toumani Diabate and Afel Bacoum make better ethnotechno with Damon Albarn than they could have with Byrne & Eno, or by themselves ("The Djembe," "Bamako City") **

Toumani Diabaté's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Indépendance [Nonesuch, 2006]
Conceived and directed by Malian kora luminary Diabaté, this grandly danceable pan-Mandé big band aims to balance modernism and neotraditionalism as it reconceives Sundiata Keita's empire for a democracy that only arrived in 1992. Nine tracks feature six lead singers and 26 musicians, a Pee Wee Ellis horn section chips in, and the material is shamelessly surefire--griot classics, horn-tutti salsa, an apt reminder that the Wolof word for "yes" is "wow," and the finest hippopotamus metaphor in God's creation. That would be "Mali Sadio," meaning "hippopotamus with white legs" and concerning the slaughter of such a beast by a homo sapiens with white skin. Too often in "world music," the kora lulls, slipping exotically into didgeridoo mode. Diabaté has won a Grammy playing that game. Here he rules, and he rocks. A-

Toumani Diabate: The Mandé Variations [Nonesuch, 2008] Dud