Kora maestro Toumani Diabate mediates traditions inherited from Mali’s ancient Mande Empire through globetrotting jazz, blues and electro frequencies. A lifelong Bamako resident, Diabate rose to global acclaim almost 20 years ago when he recorded the world’s first solo kora album Kaira. Since then his career has been characterised by a fierce refusal to erect a line between an ancient locality and a modern cosmopolis.
“My music has a history and a legend. My music has a geography. It’s for communication. I think the best way to communicate today is the music. So I really want to know, today, how come the kora is not in Hollywood?” asks Diabate.
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