Kassi Kasse

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