ZAMEK Culture Centre

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Trio da Kali

When experiencing Trio da Kali's music, one might smell savannah, hear the chirping of crickets echoing in the hot air and feel the movement of the Niger River flowing between the gallery forests. It also enchants the saga of the extraordinary Mande people, rulers of the mighty Mali Empire, which in the Middle Ages covered almost the whole of West Africa. The legendary Timbuktu, the country's most important trading city and cultural and scientific centre, in the 14th century was inhabited by five times as many people as London and was then probably the richest metropolis in the world.

The Trio da Kali are representatives of the jeliya, a caste of griots who are important advisors and mediators in Mande society, musicians and storytellers who can be described as African living libraries. They tell their listeners astonishing stories contained in old songs performed using traditional instruments.

The group's leader is Lassana Diabaté, who plays the balafon (a type of idiophone constructed from hard wooden bars fitted with calabash resonators). He is counterpointed on the ngoni lute by Mamadou Kouyaté, son of the famous Bassekou Kouyaté. Mamadou plays a special bass version of the ngoni, whose sound perfectly complements the sonorous passages played by Lassana. The singing charms the audience with the extraordinary Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté.