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Toumani Diabate

Toumani Diabate is acknowledged to be the foremost kora player in the world. The kora is a 21-string harp-lute instrument that has been played in Africa for centuries. It was the signature of the medieval Mandingo Empire, which populated West Africa from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

Diabate has brought the kora to pop music, African orchestras, flamenco, jazz, and the blues. But his latest album, “The Mande Variations,” features the instrument solo.

Toumani Diabate comes from a long line of kora-playing griots ” he is preceded by 71 generations. According to Diabate, the music on his new album is an ancient classical music, one that predates Beethoven and Mozart by centuries. Of course, the music of Mande griots also serves to perpetuate oral history. “We are storytellers, so we are the memory of Mandingo Empire,” Diabate says. “We are the archive.”

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Albums

The Mande Variations
The Mande Variations
Nonesuch Records
2008
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New Ancient Strings
New Ancient Strings
Hannibal Records
2002
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