Black Atlantic: Trio da Kali (Mali)
Mali's griot heritage is one of the world's true musical marvels. For at least seven centuries, these families of musician-historians have gathered and shared the stories of their communities, amassing an unparalleled oral tradition. Modern descendants of the griot lineage have become international ambassadors for African music, playing major festivals and releasing acclaimed records. Trio da Kali - a beguiling partnership among some of Mali's most revered musical families - is a contender on that growing list. Songlines exclaimed, "Steeped in tradition, these three brilliant musicians give a new voice to timeless sounds."
The hammered balafon of Lassana Diabaté, a veteran of Toumani Diabaté's bands, anchors the Trio with lyrical, agile melodies. Mamadou Kouyaté adds bass with the ngoni, a modern version of the ancient guitar-lute. Griotte Hawa Kassé Mady, daughter of legendary singer Kassé Mady Diabaté, sings with authority and charm, leading the group with a voice warm and resonant enough to warrant frequent comparisons to American gospel great Mahalia Jackson.