4
| Reviews |

Toumani Diabaté at the Musical Instrument Museum

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Following last night's Toumani Diabaté concert at the Musical Instrument Museum, it's easy to see why so many name-power musicians have collaborated with the Malian kora player. (Those names, by the way, include Björk, Taj Mahal, and Herbie Hancock.)

The first and only kora player to win a Grammy Award (which he did in 2006, thanks to his efforts on the late Ali Farka Touré's In the Heart of the Moon), Diabaté showcased his highly-sought-after versatility during the four-song, hour-and-a-half set. Though this solo gig would be classified as "world music" ten out of ten times, it wouldn't have been a stretch to feature Diabaté's performance in a blues/jazz club, outdoor folk festival, or a classical music concert hall.

This is due to Diabaté's versatility on the kora, a West African instrument that's only played with the index fingers and thumbs of each hand, and is constructed from a cut-in-half calabash, cow skin, and stretched fishing wire for the 21 strings.

But not many folks in this universe could play the kora like Diabaté did last night as he glided through mindful compositions heavy in mellow meditative, subconscious-delving qualities. Thanks to bulletproof timing, pensive bass lines, head-over-heels-in-love melodies, and complex improvisations rooted in poly-rhythmic patterns, Diabaté unequivocally displayed why so many musicians from around the globe are seeking his Grammy-winning contributions.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.