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Kulanjan
     

Kulanjan

4.0 1
by Toumani Diabaté
 
Earthy but ambitious, the new album from bluesman Taj Mahal, kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, and a troupe of Malian musicians goes beyond the typical cross-cultural jam session and digs into something far more profound. The music on KULANJAN actually reconstructs history, gathering up the elements from the

Overview

Earthy but ambitious, the new album from bluesman Taj Mahal, kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, and a troupe of Malian musicians goes beyond the typical cross-cultural jam session and digs into something far more profound. The music on KULANJAN actually reconstructs history, gathering up the elements from the scattered, obliterated, and erased remnants of a common past. You can't plan for a magical recording like this, just hope and pray, but with an African-American roots wizard and the keeper of thousand-year-old praise songs from the royal courts of Mali, the odds seem in posterity's favor. Meeting in a Georgia recording studio, Taj and his West African guests flip through a tattered musical family album -- visiting with the blues, rural American tunes, West African praise songs -- and fill in the blanks. "Queen Bee," the honey-sweet duet that opens the disc, buzzes with Diabate's kora filigrees while Taj's sandpaper vocals engage Ramata Diakite's high trilling verses in Mandeng. Taj's steel guitar draws folksy blue melody from deep within the ancient scales of the kora, imagining a kind of Rosetta stone for African and African-American music. Calabash percussion and kora transform "Catfish Blues" into a ghostly incantation that recalls the Songhai guitar magic of Ali Farka Toure, while the rousing "Fanta" unites the balafon with a European cousin, the piano, amid soulful shouts, grunts, and improvised French lyrics. For Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate, kindred spirits in cross-cultural music making, this magical meeting was all but inevitable, and you can feel the accumulation of collective history in every well-chosen note. For the listener, this casual session has the feeling of a family reunion. KULANJAN has that heirloom quality, a recording to be treasured by generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael Gallucci
This informal collaboration between veteran American bluesman Mahal and Malian kora (it's a 21-stringed lute-like instrument) master Diabate was recorded in an Athens, GA, studio with a sextet of West African string instrumentalists and vocalists. It sounds like a half a world away, with the two mixed cultures merging to create traditional blues based on non-traditional musical values. Mahal's gruff, weary voice is soothed by the Malian crew's sweet tones; conversely, the leaders' picking styles sound as if they were harvested from the same land. Natural, unpretentious, and occasionally sensual, Kulanjan is classy world music without the stuffy undertones.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/03/1999
Label:
Hannibal
UPC:
0031257144421
catalogNumber:
571444

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Toumani Diabaté   Primary Artist,Kora
Taj Mahal   Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Lucy Duran   Kora
Kassé-Mady Diabaté   Guitar,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Bassekou Kouyate   Bass,Ngoni
Ramata Diakité   Vocals
Ballaké Sissoko   Kora
Banning   Guitar
Lasana Diabate   Balafon
Ramatou Diakité   Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

Joe Boyd   Producer
Jerry Boys   Engineer
Lucy Duran   Producer,Liner Notes
John Keane   Engineer
Tony Wright   Cover Art
Adam Larson   Artwork
Tony Wright   Cover Art

Customer Reviews

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Kulanjan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed this in a big way. The cross between southern American blues and southern Asian ??? gives the entire CD an interesting flavor.