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Studio album by Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabaté
Released 1999
Recorded April 1999, Athens, Georgia
Genre Blues, world music
Label Hannibal
Producer Joe Boyd, Lucy Duran
Taj Mahal chronology
Blue Light Boogie
The Best of Taj Mahal
Toumani Diabaté chronology
New Ancient Strings
Jarabi: The Best of Toumani Diabaté

Kulanjan is a 1999 album by blues artist Taj Mahal and Malian kora-player Toumani Diabaté.

Mahal had first visited Mali in 1979, and the title of the album comes from the track "Kulanjan" from the 1970 album of kora music, Ancient Strings, by Toumani Diabaté's father Sidiki Diabaté. Mahal and Toumani Diabaté had first met in 1990, and in 1999, Toumani Diabeté selected six virtuoso Malian musicians and took them to record the album with Mahal in Athens, Georgia.[1][2]

The album was described by New Statesman as "a rousing set of eclectic grooves, calling on ragtime, barrelhouse blues and even rock'n'roll".[3]

Kulanjan was named album of the year by Folk Roots magazine,[4] and President Barack Obama recommended the album in a survey for the Borders book chain.[5]

Taj Mahal followed the album with a tour accompanied by West African musicians, linking his American blues sound to traditional West African rhythms and tracing the origins of blues to West Africa, Mahal also convinced that Mali's Mande griot (musician) clan were his ancestors.[1]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [6]
The Hindu (very favorable) [7]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [8]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Queen Bee"
  2. "Tunkaranke"
  3. "Ol' Georgie Buck"
  4. "Kulanjan"
  5. "Fanta"
  6. "Guede Man Na"
  7. "Catfish Blues"
  8. "K'an Ben"
  9. "Take This Hammer"
  10. "Atlanta Kaira"
  11. "Mississippi-Mali Blues"
  12. "Sahara"


  1. ^ a b Cornwell, Jane (1999) "Taj Mahal meets Central Park", The Independent, 12 November 1999
  2. ^ "Ali of Mali: Guitar king of the Sahara", Salon.com
  3. ^ Johnson, Phil (1999) "Out of Africa", new Statesman, 2 August 1999
  4. ^ Sheckter, Alan (2003) "Further on down the road: American blues treasure Taj Mahal performs solo at the Senator", newsreview.com
  5. ^ "Grammy-nominated Mali musician gets Obama boost", sina.com
  6. ^ Kulanjan at AllMusic
  7. ^ "Chords and Notes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Rolling Stone Music | Album Reviews". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27.