SONGHAI – from Andalusian gypsy to Mandinka traditions ‒ Spain, Mali
Once again we welcome the legendary collaboration between kora-player Toumani Diabaté, the guitar players the Carmona Brothers and the bassist Javier Colina, representing a ‘new flamenco’.
Toumani Diabaté, José Miguel Carmona, Juan Carmona and Javier Colina revive the spirit of Songhaï, a splendid musical collaboration that brings together the energy of flamenco and the dexterity of Mandinka music.
It was 30 years ago in London that the celebrated flamenco group Ketama met one of the geniuses of the kora lute/harp, Malian Toumani Diabaté. Thanks to the enthusiasm of producer Lucy Duran, they were joined by bassist Danny Thompson, a former member of the well-known English folk group Pentangle, and the improvised jam was recorded. Englishman Joe Boyd produced two amazing versions of Songhaï in 1988 and then in 1994.
Born on the banks of the River Niger, Toumani Diabaté personifies the 71st generation of a family of griots and kora players. He gained his reputation at the beginning of the 1980s along with the diva Kandia Kouyaté. Since then he has toured all over the world several times and is well known for his rich and modern interpretations.
The name Songhaï refers to the ancient Mandinka empire, its people and its language. Today it is reborn in a sumptuous fashion with complex, energetic rhythms and the soaring musical flights of Andalusia, a dry land not dissimilar to the Malian desert.