Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

(b 1965, Bamako, Mali) West African kora virtuoso and composer in both 'classical' and popular idioms, known as 'the Prince of the Kora' (his father Sidike being 'the King'). Began playing at age five; public debut at 13 at the Mali Biennial. Solo album Kaira '88 on Hannibal/Rykodisc has become an acknowledged classic, bringing the kora to a wider audience. Albums with flamenco fusion band Ketama included veteran English fusion bassist Danny Thompson are Songhai vols 1 & 2 on Hannibal, continuing to explore common ground in pentatonic scales and Moorish rhythm as well as attracting a new audience; Djelika '95 on Rykodisc also included Thompson, with Basekou Kouyate on ngoni (African lute) and balafonist Keletigui Diabaté (see above), a timeless session of atmospheric and sophisticated African instrumental music. Thompson also plays on Adama Diabaté's Jako Baye on Stern's.