News, reviews and commentary on afrobeat and related music from Africa, The Caribbean and The Americas

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another Malian Diva Breakthrough

By Marc Bruner

In May 2006, we did a piece on Kokanko Sata, who broke new ground by playing the n'goni, an instrument traditionally reserved for men. Well here's another important breakthrough in Malian music - Bimogow, recorded a couple of years back by Madina N'diaye.

She's a wildly talented musician and singer, who has further challenged the past, and created a new future, by mastering the kora, THE emblematic instrument of hereditary male tradition. The music is gorgeous, radiant and powerful - and a testament to the growing recognition that women can claim and carry forward their musical tradition as ably as their male forebearers.

She was trained by kora master Toumani Diabate, but she puts her own unique and beautiful mark on the age old music of the "griots." Bimogow is a stunning accomplishment, overcoming not only the long formidable gender barrier, but also the loss of her eyesight several years ago due to an infection. But don't listen to her music simply because she's a woman; listen to it for its remarkable virtuosity, captivating rhythms, and soaring melodies.

The recording is available on Amazon.

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