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Kassemady Diabaté
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Musiques du Mali

Kassemady Diabaté is a descendant of a great family of malinke griots, musicians by birth. Born in Kela, a village with a strong griot history, he received a traditional education as a griot. At a young age, he joined the Super Mandé of Kangaba, a small town South West from the capital Bamako, and relatively close to the Guinean border. This is the core region of the Malinké.
In 1972, he joined Orchestre National Badema, a national orchestra. Several band members came from les Maravillas du Mali, a band formed by Malian students in Cuba, and the Afro-cuban influences were omnipresent. National Badema, however, tried to use Malian musical elements, drawn from Malinke, Bambara and Songhai cultures.
Kassi Kasse, Narada edition

Two albums of National Badema were re-issued in the second half of the 1980s, and again on CD in 1999. Otherwise, not much is known on the band. The title song of the Nama album was one of their biggest hits and is typical for National Badema.

Towards the end of the 1980s, Kassemady was invited to Paris to record a high-tech album with Boncana Maïga, a producer and arranger who also helped Salif Keita break through on international markets with Salif Keita's Soro album. A second, acoustic, album follows shortly after. He stayed in Paris for 10 years but returned to Mali disappointed, after having been exploited by producers. His gentle character was too much a barrier to come up for his rights as an artist.
When he came back to Bamako, the music scene was much more alive. Toumani Diabaté soon asked him to work with him on his Kulanjan album. Kassemady's latest album Kassi Kasse is recorded in his village Kela, together with his brother Lafia Diabaté and his band Super Mandé (named after the old band in Kangaba).
Kassemady is gifted with an extraordinary voice, volatile but always fully under control.
Musicians on Kassi Kasse:
Kasse Mady Diabaté vocals
Lafia Diabaté vocals, dunun
Fanta Mady Kouyaté guitar
Demba Kouyaté guitar
Koma Wulen Diabaté n'goni fitini
"Petit" Kassemady Kamissoko n'goni ba
Awa Diabaté backing vocals
Moriba Diabaté backing vocals
Diakaridia Diawara Djembé
Lasana Diabaté balafon

Born: 1949, in Kela.
Style: Malinke music, both traditional and modernised.


Title Year Label Remarks
Manden Djeli Kan 2008 Universal
Kassi Kasse 2002 Discos Corasón Also released on EMI Hemisphere 543713-2 (1/2003) and on Narada 80775
Koulandjan Kela 1990? Syllart 38782-2 Also released as "Kela Tradition" on Stern's STCD 1034
Fodé 1989 Syllart Also released on Stern's STCD 1025
Albums of National Badema:
Original 1999 Sono CDS 7071 CD reissue
Nama 1983 Syllart 38767-1 LP, initially released on Mali Kunkan / Ivoire Polydisc IP 8300
Tira Makan 198? Syllart 38748-1 LP, initially released 1977 on Mali Kunkan (ref.KO 77.07.07)

More info on the Mali Kunkan label: Graeme Counsel's Radio Africa ([link])
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