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Top Customer Reviews
With filigree, rippling melodies, the music is soft, elegant and profound.
As the title suggests, this is a sort of classical kora album revisiting some classic tracks, but also laying down improvisations which sound experimental even if you've never heard a note of kora music before, such as his homage to his friend and fellow musician Ali Farka Touré.
Never has the Malian kora harp sounded so beautiful as in this new record by its greatest living master.
Toumani is said to descend from 70 generations of kora players, stretching back to the golden age of the medieval Mande empire.
He's always experimented alongside the traditional Malian modes, and his collaborators have included Björk and Damon Albarn and winning a Grammy in tandem with Ali Farka Touré for "In the Heart of the Moon" was just his latest exploit.
And now comes this CD.
Blissfully devoid of any amplification, electronic tampering, or accompaniment, it weaves a spell which is powerfully reinforced by the sheer quality of its recording.
The instrument sings with extraordinary resonance, in an acoustic so sensitive that we hear every creak of its wood and sinew; the music itself is rapt and reflective, and the tracks are luxuriously long.
What's most interesting is the way his stylistic inflections are starting to resemble those of North Indian raga music.Read more ›
Toumani Diabaté comes from a long line of Malian musicians. His father was the most famous kora player of his time and Toumani often pays credit to him through his music. Nonetheless, the younger Diabaté has refined the abilities of the instrument and enriched the playing techniques over the years. Elements of these could already be detected in the award winning "In The Heart of the Moon", a collaboration with the legendary guitarist, the late Ali Farka Touré. Toumani, being largely self-taught, has been open to experimenting with this traditional instrument, without abandoning its unique sound and complex harmonies. As he traveled the world, he absorbed and learned from other musical cultures, such as Indian classical music, flamenco and blues. The compositions on this CD harmoniously integrate such influences with melodies and rhythms of the past. All are his, or presented in his adaptation.Read more ›
It's hard to believe that this is only one person playing. The rhythms are complex, but every note glows.
The only other performer I have ever heard with this level of musicianship is Andres Segovia.
He played two of the songs from this album live / solo, and they were shockingly good. The reproduction on the album is basically just as good - well mic'd and clear. The songs are complicated and energetic, yet very relaxing to listen to. I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm off to purchase his Grammy winning "In The Heart of the Moon" now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful and unusual music. A brilliant fusion of cultures and instruments that is wonderful to listen to. Highly recommend this album.Published on March 17, 2013 by Noona
I first heard a couple of selections of this CD on the radio on a late night drive. I was so struck by the music that I pulled over to the side of the road and listened to the... Read morePublished on March 8, 2013 by George Weir
Mande Variations is brilliant. Toumani Diabate's skills and musicality are captured fully on this terrific CD and I look forward to adding more of his recordings to my collection.Published on December 20, 2012 by Jonathan Green
I first discovered this wonderful genre after hearing Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure in Traveling Timbuktu. As I expanded my collection to other musicians I found this gem. Read morePublished on May 15, 2012 by Edward
This wonderful cd helped me survive cancer. I underwent radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks in 2008 when this fantastic album came out. Read morePublished on February 7, 2011 by bass culture
Many thanks for Mande Variations and two accompanying CDS - bought as a gift but enjoyed before
'handing over". Read more
Toumani Diabate is a player of Kora Extraordinaire. I am excited to see him in Millennium Park , Chicago Aug 10 & 11, 2010 .
Perhaps he can autograph my excellent CD . - Lee
This is wonderful music; Toumani Diabate take creative steps with a traditional instrument and turns out a gem of a disc. Pleasant but compelling.Published on August 15, 2009 by Curious Skeptic