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View Poll Results: The Mandé Variations by Toumani Diabaté
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Good 3 100.00%
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Mandé Variations byToumani Diabaté

This is a chance to discover - or share your opinions of - this album, which recently won a FAIR album club poll :-

Quote:
Originally Posted by stp View Post
Toumani Diabaté - The Mandé Variations (2008)



Featuring Toumani Diabaté playing solo kora. This video has some background on the musician and on the kora.

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Old 11-11-2012, 07:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think this album does a wonderful job of capturing the tone of the kora and shows off Toumani Diabaté's mastery of the instrument. It's certainly a lovely instrument with some great acoustics, I guess most closely related to the harp. Toumani Diabate has collaborated extensively with other artists throughout his career but I'm not sure there is quite enough variation here to carry an entire album unaccompanied. There are some great tracks but some seem overly long or florid and even the addition of some basic percussion or vocals would probably be enough to introduce some needed texture to the album. On the whole I'd say it is a good album, worth a listen in the context of exploring the myriad of great African musicians.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That`s a very good analysis that pin-points how I felt too, stp.

I have an album called "Griot from Senegal" which features the kora of Pape Kanouté, but is marred by his sometimes grating voice. So I had high hopes of Diabaté`s instrumental album; I thought it would be an improvement on Pape Kanouté.
But although the kora has a wonderfully light, crystal-clear tone, I felt "The Mandé Variations" just proved the truth of that old saying, "You can have too much of a good thing." A few tracks, first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your ears, but then the problems that you mention show through, as one track becomes barely distinguishable from the next.

Maybe one of those Diabeté collaborations would be more satisfying than this collection, which I feel is more for the deeply-committed purist. Any suggestions ?
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