Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Oct 23rd, 2017

Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan

Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet
(World Circuit)

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One of the most striking things about 40-year-old world music collective Kronos Quartet, is their ability to seamlessly weave cultures and collaborations together into something truly unique. This time around they’ve joined forces with southern Mali musicians Trio Da Kali, who played with them previously at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Trio Da Kali’s members are active contributors to the London Jazz Festival, the Festival of the Centro Historico in Mexico City, and the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland.

The album starts with “Tita,” which showcases Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté’s soulful vocals over a backdrop of lush strings and lute. Their first single off the album is “Eh Ya Ye,” a more upbeat piece with a playful balafon amidst a simple hi-hat beat and whimsical strings courtesy of Kronos. The next track, “Garaba Mama,” layers Diabate’s chanting with the percussive sounds of Mamadou Kouyate’s bass ngoni. One of the best performances by the quartet with Diabate is a rendition of the Baptist hymn “God Shall Wipe All Tears Away.” The trio artfully combines traditional West African music with Kronos on “Lila Bambo,” which heavily features balafonist Lassana Diabate’s mastery, in dazzling harmony with the string section. This album grooves as much as it soothes and is a stunning introduction to both the trio and the quartet.

While tour dates featuring both groups have not yet been announced, they’ve created a collaborative website and are each on tour this fall and winter. The collaboration was initially produced by Lucy Duran and the Aga Khan Music Initiative, which started in 2000 in Central Asia and has expanded worldwide to help mentor musicians and foster creative growth. They also seek to preserve traditional music and build relationships between generations of musicians. Previous to her work with AKMI, Lucy Duran worked as a curator for the British Library’s National Sound Archive. She has produced and presented various world music programs and albums and also produced a series of documentary films about children in Mali who learn about traditional West African music, including the award-winning, “The Voice of Tradition: Bako Dagnon and Her Family.”

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Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan