Kassé Mady Diabaté
Singer Kassé Mady Diabaté is a descendant of the most distinguished griot family of the ancient Manding Empire, the Diabatés of Kéla. His name, alongside other griot legends Toumani Diabaté and Bassekou Kouyaté, signifies musical royalty in Mali. Over a five-decade career, Diabaté has brought his nuanced, stirring voice to a series of splendid recordings, including 2010’s GRAMMY-winning Afrocubism, and the collaborative record Kulanjan with Taj Mahal. Salif Keita calls him “the greatest singer in Mali.”
Diabaté’s new record, Kiriké, is a return to Malian tradition. Diabaté is backed by a stripped-down acoustic band of n’goni, balafon, and kora, the latter played by the legendary Ballaké Sissoko. The Chicago Reader calls it “an intimate set” which “allows Diabaté's voice to shine — an airy, refined balance of sweetness and soul, gentleness and force.” Diabaté promises an evocative performance at the exquisite Baldwin Auditorium: “Although you can’t hear the crickets … this is like sitting in a Bamako compound late at night, under the stars, and being sung to person to person” (Arts Desk UK).