Kronos Quartet are leaders in modern classical and their drive to collaborate and experiment is probably the main reason why. After their works with the likes of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Clint Mansell it’s more about finding more artists to collaborate with. Bring in Trio Da Kali some of the finest traditional musicians from Mali and you’ve got a recipe for incredible rich diversity.
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Kronos Quartet: led, as ever, by (fearless) experimenter with the violin, David Harrington. This time, following his over-crowding of folk songs which had a largely unenthusiastic reception, he has let his chamber group mute the strings and do what they do best: namely, provide the cozy ensemble bed to complement the full scope of other luminous musicians. Trio Da Kali -- indeed acknowledged by their foremost billing on the record -- are three exquisite talents from Mali, brought to us here by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Ladilikan is a collection of beautiful songs featuring the peerless voice of Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate, sounding fully like the transposed ghost of gospel giant Mahalia Jackson. The chamber strings are hushed and unobtrusive as Fode Diabate dazzles on malleted balafon. The whole record has a mesmerically fluid quality as the strings wind around the unhurried African instrumentation. The balafon -- a highly melodic type of wooden xylophone -- cello and bass ngoni combine with a delightfully feathery effect on the track “Garaba Mama”. A classic Jackson number, “God Shall Wipe All Tears Away”, is given the Malian treatment with the Kronos strings warmly vibrating behind Hawa D. Really lovely.
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- Ladilikan by Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet
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