Together the Kronos Quartet and Trio da Kali have created an album that is rich in texture, hauntingly melodic and strikingly inventive as violins, viola and cello combine with balafon, ngoni and the powerful female voice of Hawa ‘Kassé Mady’ Diabaté in transcendental style. David Harrington, who founded the Kronos Quartet in 1973, describes the album as “one of the most beautiful Kronos has done in forty years.”
All three Da Kali members come from hereditary musical families; Balafon player and musical director Lassana Diabate was a long-time member of Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra and has recorded with Salif Keita, Taj Mahal and many others. A musician of great subtlety and invention he has honed a virtuoso two-balafon technique to perfection. Bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté is the eldest son of the instrument’s greatest exponent, Bassekou Kouyaté and he holds down the groove in his father’s band ‘Ngoni Ba’. Singer Hawa ‘Kassé Mady’ Diabate is the daughter of Mali’s greatest traditional singer, Kassé Mady Diabate, and the power, range and phrasing of her voice led David Harrington to compare her to the late queen of American gospel, Mahalia Jackson.
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