Trio Da Kali is a group of outstanding musicians from the Mande culture of southern Mali who come from a long line of distinguished griots (hereditary musicians). Formed of voice, ngoni and balafon the Trio bring a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires.
European performance credits include BBC Proms, the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, and at the London Jazz Festival. After a collaboration with The Kronos Quartet in 2014, David Harrington (of Kronos) describing it as ‘one of the most beautiful collaborations Kronos has had in our first 40 years’.
Hawa Kasse Mady Diabaté, daughter of legendary Kasse Mady Diabaté, is the singer of the trio, one of the finest griot voices in Mali and often compared to Mahalia Jackson. At home, Hawa performs mainly on the wedding circuit, singing at parties held on the streets of Bamako (the main context in which most musicians in Mali make a living). The most distinctive feature of the Trio is the balafon, and Lassana Diabaté, formerly of Afrocubism and Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, is one of Mali’s most astonishing players. Its cascading lines, rippling and percussive riffs, and buzzing gourd resonators, are a familiar element in many Malian ensembles, but here for the first time the balafon is the lead instrument. The youngest member of the trio is bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté, the eldest son of world-renowned Bassekou Kouyaté. Still in his early 20s, he is one of Mali’s most creative musicians of the new generation.
Trio Da Kali take their name from one of the oldest and most iconic praise songs in the griot repertoire, “Da kali” means “to swear an oath”, in this case, it is the griots’ pledge to maintain their art. Trio Da Kali was created with support from (and this EP is produced in collaboration with) the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.