Although this post is supposed to be about one of the greatest kora players of all times (and all places too), one can easily be distracted by an artist who has -long after this recording- become a world-wide star of popular music. Because one of the singers on this lp by the ensemble of Batourou Sekou Kouyaté is none other than Mory Kanté (see this post).
This record was released in 1975, and probably recorded a year earlier. So this is from the time when Mory had already joined the Rail band and had replaced Salif Keita as the lead singer (Salif had left in 1973).
Born near Kissidougou in Guinea into a family of griots, Mory had been sent to Bamako in the 1960s to stay with his aunt, singer Manamba Kamissoko, and to learn the griot métier. He played in a band called the Apollos, until he was 'discovered' by Tidiane Koné, the chef d'orchestre of the Rail Band.
In the early 1970s he became more and more interested in the kora, and even more when he heard Batourou Sekou Kouyaté, who was the father of a friend. Legend has it that he learned to play the instrument on Batourou's kora. According to Mory himself, the kora which he uses on stage was given to him by the kora legend in 1974.
I am not sure about the names of the musicians on this lp, but I suspect the female singer on these superb and rare recordings (featuring classic interpretations of "Keme Bourema", "Belebele", "Djandjon", "Wara" and "Koulandjan") is Nantenegwe Kamissoko, who presumably is a cousin of Mory.
No doubt coached by the brilliant Malian kora master, Mory manages to pluck emotional strings which in my opinion very few of his later recordings have been able to touch....
Makossa KR 28 or (MF) here
Great Abaraka – Great Abaraka EMI
2 days ago