Twice Grammy-nominated, Toumani Diabaté is one of the most important musicians in contemporary African music. He plays the kora, a harp unique to West Africa with 21 strings. His most recent album "The Mande Variations" (World Circuit Records) is one of the best-selling recent world music records having sold over 13,000 units
in the UK alone since it's release in February 2008.
"King of the kora" features material from Diabate's first six albums and is themed to show the 2 sides to his work:
CD1 ("King of the kora") - shows Toumani's unparalleled showmanship with a mix of solo pieces, duets with fellow kora player Ballake Sissoko and trio ensemble
pieces: in all of them Toumani's kora is the king.
CD2 ("Cross-cultural kora") - features collaborative pieces with Blues-man Taj Mahal, Ali Farka Touré's son Vieux Farka Touré and flamenco act Ketama, some of which also feature Danny Thompson (Pentangle) and Jose Soto (ex-
Ketama). They all show his versatility & ability to enhance other genres with his sublime playing.
Diabaté was born in Bamako, the capital of Mali, in 1965 into a family of exceptional griots: his research shows 71 generations of kora players from father to son. Diabaté
was however self-taught, never learning directly from his father except by listening. This album is the most comprehensive overview yet of the most important and
influential musician working in African music today. It was compiled by Nigel Williamson, Contributing Editor to Songlines magazine who also wrote the accompanying sleeve-notes.