Win A Vinyl Copy Of Malian Griot Singer Kassé Mady Diabaté's New Record

Tweet at @Okayafrica with the hashtag #DiabateVinyl for a chance to win a vinyl copy of Malian griot singer Kassé Mady Diabaté's new record.

Photo: Manuel Lagos

If the tracks "Simbo" and "Ko Kuma Magni" are any indication, Kirike is an intriguing album, one that gracefully balances technical mastery with deep feeling, striking strings with a moving voice. That voice belongs to Kassé Mady Diabaté, a musician who Malian singer/songwriter Salif Keita has called "the greatest singer in Mali." Coming from the legendary Diabaté family of griot singers, Diabaté was a child prodigy in his Malian village of Kéla, who has gone on to have a career spanning half-a-century. After a stint as the main vocalist for Orchestre Régional Super Mandé de Kangaba, the singer then embarked on a prolific solo career. Kirike is his latest release, and sees him accompanied by Malian kora musician Ballaké Sissoko, French cellist Vincent Segal, Diabaté's relative Lansiné Kouyaté on the Balafon, and ngoni musician Makan Tounkara. Kirike is out now on Six Degrees Records (and available to purchase on iTunes here).

To celebrate, we're running a vinyl giveaway contest with Six Degrees. Follow @Okayafrica on Twitter and tweet at us with the hashtag #DiabateVinyl for a chance to win a vinyl copy of Kassé Mady Diabaté's Kirike. We'll select a winner on Monday, February 9.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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