Toumani Diabaté and Trio Kali
@ the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
22 November 2013
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Toumani Diabaté biography
Toumani Diabate was born on August 10, 1965, in Mali, West Africa.
He is of the griot or djeli caste, a lineage of musicians which
can be traced over 70 generations, according to family oral tradition.
Toumani Diabate plays the kora, a 21-stringed harp made from a calabash
gourd, an instrument which has changed little over centuries. He
was a child prodigy, who began playing at age 5 and performing by
Toumani Diabate made his international debut with 1988’s
“kaira”, an album often acknowledged as the finest solo
kora work ever recorded. acknowledged as the finest 20 years that
followed, Diabate focused mainly on collaborative work, recording
with both his fellow Malians (including Ali Farka Toure, Ballake
Sissoko, and Vieux Farka Toure) as well as musicians of international
renown (including Taj Mahal, Bjork, and flamenco group Ketama).
Diabate also recorded with The Symmetric Orchestra, a group of griots
that he hand-selected from across West Africa. In 2008, he released
The Mande Variations, his first solo kora record in 20 years.
Toumani Diabate has been honoured and feted around the globe for
his accomplishments. Most notably, in 2004, he was the first black
African to receive the Zyriab des Virtuoses, a UNESCO prize, He
also won the Grammy Award in the Best Traditional World Music Album
category for “In the Heart of the Moon”, a collaboration
with Ali Farka Toure, who unfortunately passed away shortly before
the record was released.