His fellow musicians often refer to him as just "Diabaté". But if you search on the internet you'll soon find that Abdoulaye Diabaté is the subject - or victim even - of a lot of confusion.
So let me get a few things straight. He doesn't play the kora, but does have an above average talent as a drummer. He does have a brother, but isn't the brother of Kassemady. He does not live in Canada or the US, but in Koutiala in the Sikasso region of Mali.
This Abdoulaye Diabaté (subject of earlier posts, here and here) is the man who drove audiences wild* at the Biennales in the 1980s.
I first met him at the 1988 Biennale, which was the last of the old style Biennales. I even interviewed him and Mamadou Diakité, chef d'orchestre of the Kéné Star, the regional orchestra of Sikasso. He struck me then as a somewhat shy person, who left all the talking to Mamadou Diakité.
I met him again just over a year later, when he was playing with his own Koule Star in Markala, near Segou. Surrounded by local (female) fans, he was far more relaxed and obviously in his element. He even allowed me to make some recordings, which I may post at a later date.
Both at the Biennale and at the Markala concert he played most of the tracks of this cassette. The track "Louanze", about the poor legal position of tenants, even became a nationwide hit.
At the concert in Markala he surprised me by dedicating a song to me; much to my annoyance the song was "Africa", which I consider to be the most irritating song on this album.....
This is certainly not my favourite album by Abdoulaye Diabaté. It was recorded in Abidjan, and that is always a huge handicap for Malian musicians. It usually means arrogant recording engineers imposing their technical gadgets on overwhelmed artists. In that respect the lp, which was later released for the western market, is in my opinion slightly worse than the cassette. So I am including both the cassette and the lp, so you can make up your own mind.
Luckily Diabaté did manage to slip in two more 'basic' tracks, with only guitar and ngoni accompanying his (brilliant) vocals. These two tracks alone justify posting this album.....
SYL 8387 cassette
Syllart 8387, Melodie 38765 lp
As a bonus I am adding this video, from a concert in 1988 in Bamako. The track is actually from the cassette which I posted earlier.
*all within Malian proportions, that is. So no hysterical scenes....
Liner Notes: Episode 10: Cavacha Classics
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