Tag Archives: Mississippi

Taj Mahal / Toumani Diabate – Mississippi Mali Blues

Kulanjan, Hannibal Records 2000. Taj Mahal – vocals, guitar; Toumani Diabate – kora; Bassekou Kouyate – ngoni, bass ngoni; Dougouye Koulibaly – kamalengoni; Lasana Diabate – balafon; also with Kassemady Diabate – vocals; Ballake Sissoko – kora; on other tracks. Like the 1997 release Sacred Island, Kulanjan sees Taj Mahal blending the blues with ethnic folk music. While the earlier album explored the music of Hawaii, however, here Taj and the Malian kora player Toumani Diabate seek to reveal the connections between the blues and the music of Western Mali. (…) The Malian cuts sound, perhaps only to this untrained ear, mostly like straight West-African folk music. Connections between the two traditions are still apparent here, however. “Fanta” takes the Malian tradition of the praise song and renders it as an infectious Cajun blues, sung in French by Taj and dedicated to Diabate’s wife. And “Guede Man Na”, although a million miles from the blues in form, has the heartfelt sadness of great blues music. Ultimately, though, deciding which of the album’s tracks can be termed as ‘blues’ and which are ‘Malian’ is a fairly pointless exercise. Taj and Diabate effortlessly fuse elements of both musics, and in Kulanjan they have produced a superb release that succeeds on its own terms. (Ronan Abayawickrema/All About Jazz review) Buy this record!

Waimea Valley Hike with Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club

8.5 mile hike at Waimea Valley on the island of Oahu, Hawaii on May 13, 2012