Kasse Mady Diabate comes from one of the most famous griot families in Mali.

Kasse Mady Diabate comes from one of the most famous griot families in Mali. He's a wondrous singer of traditional Malian tunes, as we hear on "Balakono" and "Namanike." He also happens to be a contemporary artist who's conversant with a good many influences beyond his traditional music. The opening track, "Eh Ya Ye," is a swinging bit of Afro jazz, highlighted by Dramane Coulibaly's flute. The long-lived influence of Afro-Cuban music in West Africa is evident on several tracks here—most notably "Balomina Mwanga" and "Maimouna"—and Diabate is very much at his ease singing in this groove. The all-acoustic, elegant Kassi Kasse was recorded in Diabate's hometown of Kela in a mobile studio.—PVV