Concert: Trio Da Kali & Derek Gripper
November 11, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm EST | $25
Trio Da Kali is a group of outstanding musicians from the Mandé culture of southern Mali who come from a long line of distinguished griots (hereditary musicians). Formed of voice, ngoni and balafon the Trio bring a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires.
Hawa Kasse Mady Diabaté, daughter of legendary Kasse Mady Diabaté, is the singer of the trio, one of the finest griot voices in Mali and often compared to Mahalia Jackson. At home, Hawa performs mainly on the wedding circuit, singing at parties held on the streets of Bamako (the main context in which most musicians in Mali make a living). The most distinctive feature of the Trio is the balafon, and Lassana Diabaté, formerly of Afrocubism and Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, is one of Mali’s most astonishing players. Its cascading lines, rippling and percussive riffs, and buzzing gourd resonators, are a familiar element in many Malian ensembles, but here for the first time the balafon is the lead instrument. The youngest member of the trio is bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté, the eldest son of world-renowned Bassekou Kouyaté. Still in his early 20s, he is one of Mali’s most creative musicians of the new generation.
Trio Da Kali take their name from one of the oldest and most iconic praise songs in the griot repertoire, “Da kali” means “to swear an oath”, in this case, it is the griots’ pledge to maintain their art. Trio Da Kali was created with the support and collaboration from the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Derek Gripper’s exploration of Mali’s greatest instrumental virtuosos: kora players Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko alongside the music of guitarist Ali Farka Touré creates a new form of classical guitar music out of Africa’s richest musical traditions.
“Gripper has cracked it…his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar.” [Nigel Williamson, Songlines Magazine]
“Toumani Diabate had also invited the South African musician Derek Gripper (to The Acoustik Festival Bamako) who arranges kora music for classical guitar…Gripper is more used to performing in hushed institutions like Carnegie Hall in New York and King’s Place in London (where he plays this June). Here the audience clapped excitedly as soon as he began to play.” [Fluer Macdonald, The Economist]
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