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Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra Boulevard de L'Independence Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

This album is the culmination of a decade of Friday night jam sessions at Bamako's...

Jon Lusk 2006

Hot on the heels of Toumani Diabate's Grammy-winning collaboration with late guitar genius Ali Farka Toure, Mali's leading kora player comes up trumps with this energetic ensemble piece.

Those expecting the sparse, spectral ambience of that CD or previous solo efforts like New Ancient Strings or Kaira are in for a pleasant shock. As the group's name suggests, there's a balance between tradition and innovation, youth and maturity, electric and acoustic, quiet interludes and rocking dance numbers.

This album is the culmination of a decade of Friday night jam sessions at Bamako's Hogon Club and showcases a wide range of musicians and singers, including Kasse Mady Diabate, Soumaila Kanoute and Morissanda Kamissoko. There are scorching horns, fierce percussion and even atmospheric string arrangements. But the one constant throughout is Diabate's kora playing, which is magical.

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