Issued Thursday, 31 January 2008
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE IN ASSOCIATION WITH ARTS PROJECTS AUSTRALIA PRESENTS TOUMANI DIABATE’S SYMMETRIC ORCHESTRA
A genius of African music…one of the most exhilarating instrumentalists in the world. The Guardian, UK
Music of almost supernatural invention. The Independent, US
The greatest living exponent of the kora and his 10-piece orchestra perform at Sydney Opera House for one night only. Grammy award-winning Toumani Diabate is the uncontested master of the kora, a 21-stringed harp lute with tingling cadences unique to West Africa. Toumani Diabate is one of a long lineage of great Malian musicians, 71 generations of players from father to son. Hailed as a genius of the kora, Toumani was awarded the coveted Tamani d’Or in 2003, for best kora player in the world.
Calling on the powerful tradition of Mali griots (a caste of musicians who are the keepers of oral history, telling their stories through music, song and dance), he adds jazz, flamenco and electro-funk in a genre-bending frenzy of hot dance rhythms.
Having collaborated with eclectic artists such as the likes of Icelandic siren Bjork, bluesman Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Blur and Gorillaz front-man Damon Albarn, flamenco bad boys Ketama, and the late, great Ali Farka Touré, Toumani is at the vanguard of a new generation of Malian griots modernising but still honouring their musical tradition.
Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra, comes to Sydney after playing some of the world’s most prestigious festivals of 2007, including Glastonbury (UK), Nice Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Mundial, and Amsterdam Roots Festival. The Symmetric Orchestra, a cross-generational ensemble that boasts an ever-evolving line-up, blend traditional instruments such as djembe, balafon (West African xylophone) and bolombatto, to deliver pulsating dance beats with exquisite passages of musical embroidery and improvisation. The group easily traverses an exhilarating musical soundscape between tradition and innovation, youth and maturity, electric and acoustic; deftly segueing from quiet interludes to rocking dance pieces.
There are scorching horns, fierce percussion and even atmospheric string arrangements. But the one constant throughout is Diabate's kora playing, which is magical. Album review John Lusk, BBC Music, 2006
Performance Details: Toumani Diabate
Venue: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Date: Wednesday 12th March, 2008
Time: 8pm Prices: $59 - $95
Bookings: 02 9250 7777