Cover from Mamadou Diabate's album, "Heritage"
|Birth name||Mamadou Diabaté|
Mamadou Diabaté (born 1975) is a kora player. He began playing quite early in his life, became known as a musician in the area of Mali in which he lived, and has since moved to the United States, recording five albums
Life and career
Diabaté was born in Kita, Mali, a town relatively near to Mali's capital of Bamako, known for its artistic and cultural prominence within the Manding community of West Africa. He was born into a family of griots, with his father, Djelimory n'fa Diabaté, also a kora musician and a member of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali. He began playing the kora, a 21-string harp at a very young age, performing at various public events in his country and was becoming somewhat of a regional celebrity by that time as well.
In 1996, he went on to travel with a group of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, and eventually settled in the United States. Since his move to the US, Diabaté has performed with several musicians from the country, including jazz players Randy Weston, Guy Davis, and Donald Byrd, as well as with a griot ensemble composed of musicians from Mali and the United States.
His 2000 debut album Tunga mixed West African music with blues and jazz influences. A review in CMJ New Music Report commented on Diabate's "faster, nimbler style of kora playing". The album featured bassists Cheick Barry and Ira Coleman.
In 2005, Diabaté was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Traditional World Music Album category for Behmanka, but lost to the collaboration between his cousin Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure. The album was described as a "dazzling duet for one" by The Washington Post, while Philip Van Vleck, reviewing it for Billboard, described it as "a feat of remarkable virtuosity".
His third album, Heritage, was totally instrumental, again showing jazz influences. His group at this time included Djkorya Mory Kante (guitar), Noah Barrett (bass), Baye Kouyati (callabash, talking drum), and Balia Kouyate (balafon). A Billboard review by Philip Van Vleck described it as "a gorgeous album loaded with music that evokes Mali's soul".
His fourth his solo album Douga Mansa, a tribute his father and grandfather, won the 2010 Grammy for Best Traditional World Music Album. Also in 2010, he was part of the world music trio Djan Djan which included Bobby Singh, an Australian tabla player, and Jeff Lang, an Australian slide guitarist.
His fifth album, Courage, was recorded in Mali and released in 2011. A review in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described it as "a truly remarkable disc of music and deserves to be considered equal to anything written or recorded by any composer or symphony orchestra in the rest of the world".
His sixth album "Griot Classique", was released in 2014.  Mamadou Diabate’s sixth album affirms that he is one of the finest kora players living in the world today. With his 2009 Grammy Award in Best Traditional World Music for his last solo album, Douga Mansa, he returns with a new solo album "Griot Classique". It is dedicated to his father, Djelimory N’fa Diabate, and to Nelson Mandela. Featuring new composition, innovating on the traditional melodies, these new pieces highlight his versatility as a composer. While playing his one kora, Mamadou’s simultaneous combination of accompaniment and solo playing produces sounds of two koras playing at once, highlighting his adept skill as a kora virtuoso. It was recorded in Durham, North Carolina and produced and engineered by Jason Richmond.
- Tunga (2000), Alula
- Behmanka (June 14, 2005), World Village Music
- Heritage (November 14, 2006), World Village Music
- Douga Mansa (2008), World Music Village
- Courage (2011), World Village Music
- Griot Classique (2014), JRS
- Lavaine, Bertrand (2007) "Mamadou Diabate Heritage", RFI music, March 12, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Gesret, Céline (2010) "Mamadou Diabaté: "Si crees en tus decisiones, crees en tu destino"", La Vanguardia, July 30, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Fink, Matt "Mamadou Diabate Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- "Mamadou Diabate delivers tradition with a taste of blues and jazz", Portland Press-Herald, August 21, 2003, p. 13D
- Gaynell Patterson, Karin Expressions of Africa in Los Angeles Public Performance, 1781-1994, UMI Microform ref 3296731, pp. 319-320
- Rhythm, Volume 9 (2000), Issues 6-11, p. 96
- "Must Hear: Mamadou Diabate Tunga", CMJ New Music Report, February 14, 2000, p. 27. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Henderson, Alex "Tunga Review", Allmusic. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Menconi, David (2010) "Diabate gets a Grammy lift", News & Observer, February 1, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Van Vleck, Philip (2006) "Mamadou Diabate Heritage", Billboard, November 25, 2006, p. 52. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- "Mamadou Diabate's Dazzling Duet for One", The Washington Post, December 31, 2005. Retrieved August 22, 2013, p. C05
- Van Vleck, Philip (2005) "Mamadou Diabate Behmanka", Billboard, June 25, 2005, p. 49. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- "Mamadou Diabaté llevará en marzo el ritmo de la kora a España", ABC.es, February 15, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Elder, Bruce (15 March 2010). "When musical worlds collide, the sum shines brigh". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 10.
- "World Music Review: Mamadou Diabate", News & Observer, March 27, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2013
- Marcus, Richard (2011) "Music Review: Mamadou Diabate - Courage", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 26, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2013