World Music Institute's Mali Festival

                                                April 14th-16th at Brooklyn Bowl 

 
 
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Feature 1

April 16th Fatoumata Diawara with Kaleta and the Super Yamba band opening,

April 15th -  Trio Da Kali with Derek Gripper,

April 14th Sidi Touré and Chop and Quench, 


Feature 2

Fatoumata closed the festival backed by a solid band recruited in the US. It was her last of five North American dates, preceding the release of her 2nd album "Fenfo" due in May. The tour continues in Europe through the summer. Fatou mentioned Fela Kuti, Nina Simone and and the migration of young Africans from the continent as inspiring several of her new works.

Her words preceded some unexpected twists in her music. The concert began with her band guitar, keyboards, drums and bass providing a solid and framework behind her voice soaring over spare solos on lead guitar on folksy and soulful tunes.   

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Ululating vocals punctuated her words on several tunes, she whipped off her head wrap and commenced in the wassalou dancing that had her cowrie shell tipped brads flying in circular motion. Her next  dance was with a white cloth covering her head and face with movement that seemed to display an anonymous searching in  steps. Just prior she had used a second mike to record a record a loop of her vocals that repeated as she danced.  Sowa from her first album, "Fatou" followed.

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Kaleta and the Super Yamba Band

Kaleta and the Super Yamba band opened for Fatoumata with funky mix of original songs inspired by Beninese/Nigerian 70’s era sound. The Super Yamba band was formed here in New York after four members moved here from North Carolina. Kaleta, Leon Ligan-Majek, born in Benin and moved to Nigeria where he played with Nigerian Stars Fela Kuti, Majek Fashek, and King Sunny Ade. 

The Super Yamba band had been playing original instrumental songs, began looking for vocalists as they recorded their first album. Inspired by Benin’s Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, Ghanaian Highlife and Nigerian Afrobeat artists, they were introduced to Kaleta which led to recording together and their first tour together in May and then July this summer.

Trio Da Kali and Derek Gripper at the Brooklyn Bowl. Trio da Kali, Hawa Kasse Mady, vocals; Mamadou Kouyaté, bass ngoni; Fodé Lassana Diabaté, balafon with guests Banning Eyre on guitar and griot Kassé Mady Diabate, vocals.  Gripper, a classical guitarist opened with a solo set of  Malian traditional kora music he transcribed for guitar from his two albums based on the work of Toumani Diabate. Gripper also sat in with Trio Da Kali with whom he collaborated on his last show at Zankel Hall,  prompting the onstage quip "From Carnegie Hall to the bowling alley". 

Gripper has developed a  technique where he is playing  both the foundational pattern and the melodic "lead" kora lines  simultaneously, to get a sound similar to the kora player who uses both hands . He also changed the rhythmic emphasis and tempo of the pieces while staying true to the individual notes, the result was mesmerizing.  

Gripper has developed a  technique where he is playing  both the foundational pattern and the melodic "lead" kora lines  simultaneously, to get a sound similar to the kora player who uses both hands . He also changed the rhythmic emphasis and tempo of the pieces while staying true to the individual notes, the result was mesmerizing.  


Gripper, a classical guitarist opened with a solo set of  Malian traditional kora music he transcribed for guitar from his two albums based on the work of Toumani Diabate. Gripper also sat in with Trio Da Kali with whom he collaborated on his last show at Zankel Hall,  prompting the onstage quip "From Carnegie Hall to the bowling alley". 

Feature 3

Sidi Toure surprised many in the audience when the master of Songhai traditional music lit into a rocking electrified set at the Brooklyn Bowl. Featuring Abdoulaye Kone on electric n'goni, Djadje Traore on electric guitar, and the drum kit of Mahalmadane Traore,  sans the percussion instruments usually heard in Songhai, music played extended grooves with reverb pedals adding sonic thump to solos from all bandmembers including Baba Traore on bass and Sidi on guitar. The music came from his new album "Toubalbero"  the psychedelic rock era to northern Mali.

 

 

 

ChopandQuench

Members of Chop and Quench, the Fela band opened for Toure with a afrobeat jam.