Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In review--Taking it to DC

Cheick Hamala Diabate
Ake Doni Doni (Take it Slow)
Grigri Discs

I imagine that we Americans need a West African griot and n’goni player advising our government representatives. Malian n’goni player and musical diplomat has exchanged culture and I hope humanitarian ethics with members of the U.S. Congress and “hobnobbed with American string and blues legend Bela Fleck to Corey Harris…”

According to the press release, “As the resident griot of DC, Diabate happily take on a very traditional role of in his adopted home where he has lived since 1995. He still earns his living the old fashion way—praising notables and legitimizing leaders and garnering generous rewards for his songs.” However, the songs on Ake Doni Doni also teach politicians, the media and other Washington DC dwellers how to be better parents, better leaders and to heal themselves of a “grab fast” mentality which Diabate addresses in the titular song.

Take a listen to Astou Diabate’s fiery vocals on Oude Diallo where she gives her unwavering support to the griot tradition. And throughout the recording listeners are treated to masterful n’goni (West African banjo) playing, a rush of calabashes, brass, kora and Corey Harris’ slide guitar. American influences could be heard here with the big brass sound, slide guitar and organ that appears on the opener--which falls into the West African reggae groove.

So you can sleep well tonight knowing that at least one griot is hard at work pushing ethics at the U.S. Capital with his rousing songs. I just hope that members of the U.S. Congress shake their souls and awake when hearing these songs. How can they not with the peace-loving music on this disk?

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