Sunday, February 8, 2009

CD Review: Kora, Balafon, N'goni, and more....

Soun Soun: La Tradition Mandingue
Terp Records

Lanaya, a wholly instrumental trio hailing from Bamako, Mali, play centuries old music for today's generation. All in their 20's, Lanaya forms a talented group of musicians on kora, n'goni, and balafon. The group's familial history is as iconic as the music itself. Djibril Diabate on kora is the nephew of Toumani Diabate. Fassery Diabate on balaphone is the son of Malian musician Keletigui Diabate. Finally, Mohamadou Kamissoko comes from a family of n'goni players. Their musicianship is astounding and far-reaching. The songs do not include vocals, so the instruments carry the spirit of Mandingue culture to the forefront of this release. The instrumental performance is indicative of other ensembles from select regions of the world. Most notably, the music of China and Southeast Asia comes to mind. The energetic and scintillating melodies of the instruments creates a mesmerizing effect on the listener. Fans of instrumental music from around the world and West Africa in particular, will love Soun Soun. ~ Matthew Forss

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