Celebrated Malian Singer Kassé Mady Diabaté Has Passed
Kassé Mady Diabaté was Mali's "Golden Voice."
Kassé Mady Diabaté, one of Mali's most renowned musicians, has passed away. He was 69 years old.
Diabaté, whose career took of in the early 1970s as part of the band Super Mande, came from a distinguished family of griots—West African praise singers, storytellers—who were widely celebrated in Mali. The griot is there to weigh in as a peacekeeper in family conflicts," he said in a 2015 interview with Rhythm Passport. "It's someone you go to just for advice, say between a husband and wife, couples, between tribe and tribe, even country and country. So it's a real peacekeeping role. It's still like that and people still have that respect for griots."
He recorded his first solo album Fode in 1988 upon moving to Paris. According to Rhythm Passport, the singer was given his nickname, Kassé, from the Bambara word kassi, meaning to weep, because his rich voice was known to move people to tears.
He is known for his work with fellow Malian griots, as well as his international collaborations with artists from Cuba and Brazil. He collaborates with celebrated US blues musician Taj Mahal on his 2014 album, Kirike, which according to his website was listed as one of Barrack Obama's favorite albums of all time.
Folks have been sharing messages of condolences on social media, and remembering the artist for his contribution to Malian music.