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World Music Institute
Festival of Mali
April 13 @ 8:00 pm - April 16 @ 11:00 pm
This festival brings together some of the most important artists from one of Africa's most musically rich countries.
When the Northern Mali conflict broke out in 2012 all non-religious music was banned putting an abrupt halt to the creative forces of artists in one of the most musically significant countries in the world. Though this ban was subsequently lifted the danger of these artists to perform their music in their homeland still looms bringing a powerful plight for these artists. For four nights, five of Mali's musical ambassadors come to New York City to present their revered art to the world.
When & where
April 13-16, 2018
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
Tickets $20 per night or $75 for a 4-day-pass
Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté
Friday April 13, 2018 @ 8pm
April 14, 2018 @ 8pm
Trio Da Kali/Derek Gripper
Sunday April 15, 2018 @ 8pm
Monday April 16, 2018 @ 8pm
Co-presented with Brooklyn Bowl
This concert will be the New York City premiere of a rare father-and-son collaboration, Toumani Diabaté, genius of African music and widely recognized as the greatest living kora (a 21-stringed West African harp) player, performing with his son Sidiki, the instrument’s emerging star, who has said that it’s his dream to play with his father. Together they perform a combination of obscure, almost forgotten kora pieces and ones that provide a new look at some Mande classics from Mali. Their playing is extraordinary, as they seem to communicate telepathically and finish each other’s musical sentences. The kora is the quietest of instruments, but the father-son duo plays it with enthusiasm, groove, wit, swing and bounce, ecstatic excitement and exquisite intimacy—and always with a flowing pulse and groove.
Sidi Touré, a highly acclaimed practitioner of Songhaï Music, first emerged on the international scene in 2011 with his signature blues-inflected guitar playing when he released Sahel Folk, his debut album for Thrill Jockey Records and toured North America for the first time. His plaintive vocal melismatic Songhaï folk music carries melodic and repertory characteristics that extend from Ibrahim Dicko, Sidi’s mentor, to Ali Farka Touré’s pioneering work. Sidi’s music is steeped in Malian culture and traditions. The winner of two Malian national awards for best singer, Sidi also led Gao’s regional orchestra, The Songhaï Stars. In Toubalbero, his latest release, Sidi creates a danceable, dynamic and joyous album that is an exuberant and irresistible call for unity and peace for Malians and Africans.
Trio Da Kali unites three outstanding musicians—a vocalist, balafonist and bass ngoni player—from the Mande culture of southern Mali, who all come from a long line of distinguished griots. Originally formed to develop a collaborative project with The Kronos Quartet, Trio Da Kali aims to bring a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires. Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, the daughter of legendary griot singer Kassé Mady Diabaté, is the vocalist and her rich, expressive voice and natural vibrato have inspired comparisons to Mahalia Jackson. Master balafonist Lassana Diabaté, one of Mali’s most astonishing musicians, is the musical director and the youngest member is bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté, who brings a contemporary feel to the tradition—a technique which he learned from his father, world-renowned Grammy nominated ngoni player Bassekou Kouyaté. Their debut album with Kronos Quartet, entitled Ladilikan, will be released September 15, 2017 on World Circuit Records.
For over ten years Derek Gripper has produced some of South Africa’s most extraordinary musical works by fusing the country’s disparate creative traditions with styles throughout the world. His music draws on European classical traditions, avant-garde Brazilian works, Malian kora works, Cape Town’s folk styles such as ghoema/goema and vastrap, and even Indian classical music, all the while synthesizing them into a style uniquely his own.
Born in Côte d'Ivoire to Malian parents, Fatoumata Diawara moved to France to pursue acting. She later took up the guitar and began composing her own material, writing songs that blend Wassalou traditions of Southern Mali with international influences. Noted for her sensuous voice, she has performed or recorded with Malian and international greats such as Cheick Tidiane Seck, Oumou Sangaré, AfroCubism, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roberto Fonseca, Mayra Andrade and Omara Portuondo. Fatoumata has spent the recent years touring the world to great critical acclaim. Her recent featured role in the documentary Mali Blues by filmmaker Luz Gregor has brought her music and her plight to even greater audiences worldwide.