February 07, 2010


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....

EDIT March 14, 2016: the link to the cassette version has been renewed!


Anonymous said...

Thanks much appreciated.
Also enjoying the style of the last two presentations, it seems that spring is this sidewalk and brings new energy.

Continuing with the style, Diabaté also has a son.

And I do not know the signifies of that wonderful word "Underpimped" but I'm happy that I have been guided to a wonderful album, thanks again.

Anonymous said...

THANX... I love your blog and learning so much about african music!!! you are the best!!!!

calumbinho said...

so then, this is NOT the Abdoulaye Diabate who's been making albums in the 1990s & 2000s like "Djiriyo", "Bende", or "Samori", right? any relation? Thanks.

WrldServ said...

@calumbinho: Hahaha! This IS the Abdoulaye Diabaté of "Djiriyo", "Bende" and "Samory". If you listen to his music it will not be difficult to recognise his voice.
(Other video)

@Ngoni: He also has daughters...

Anonymous said...

Any singer daughter?

I spoke of his son Iba and his brother Modibo, the truth is that Iba so far does not say much, but I liked Modibo and his group Koutiakan in Bouadé not yet heard his second album Africa only the video Bamako.

I agree the Kassikoun cassette version is much brighter, but on production do not have anything against it as I quite like the Maestro Boncana works, not so much when composing.

As for the two wonderful acoustic songs should be of the sessions in Paris, recognized the guitar Djely Moussa Kouyaté (missing in the credits of the cassette) and I suppose it Mamaye Kouyaté in the Ngoni.
Thanks again, had none.

mangue said...

NGONI kindly pointed me to here. Unfortunately the "better" K7 version is not available anymore. Really like to hear that one, possible to make it available again?
Thanks for the LP anyway!!

WrldServ said...

@Mangue: thanks for informing me! The link has been restored.
(It is a mystery to me how the file became unshared).

If you find any more broken links, please let me know.

mangue said...

Thanks very much!!