Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Africa

Mamadou Diabate

By James Rodgers
Published September 18, 2008

Douga Mansa
World Village

For his fourth release, and second one without accompaniment, Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate builds a swirling, undulating and complex wall of sound out of those 21 strings.  The notes come fast and furious at times, washing over the listener in a gush of melody, but then there are moments where things are like a slow and steady rain.  With eight traditional instrumentals and four others written or co-written by Diabate, the album pays respect to the griot tradition of his homeland, while also adding influences from his time living in the U.S., collaborating with artists in the jazz and blues genres.  His speed is astonishing and his skills on the instrument impressive, but the music never truly grabs the listener or pushes for attention, seemingly content to pour from the speakers and fill the room with a musical glow.  This is world music for a relaxing day that will make you feel fresh and alive.