Author and musician Yaya Diallo and his musical collective recently dropped a new album, Kachii: Traditions to Traditions, a collection of healing and devotional music.
Yaya Diallo explains, “‘Kachii: Traditions to Traditions’ is an album of ‘lost’ and ‘hidden’ music from the Minianka culture of south-eastern Mali. My goal is to play Minianka balafon music with traditional Western instruments—violin, cello, double-bass, flute—as well as African percussions—djembe, talking drum, and dounou—to create a new sound that can open doors for listeners worldwide.”
He goes on, “This album honors the traditional role of coredjouga in Minianka culture, whose music is featured on the album. A coredjouga is a person who has shed everything, who has no need for material possessions and can educate others through irony. The symbol of the coredjouga is the vulture, who can live on scraps that others have left behind. That is what I have done in this new album, I have taken instruments that are old and left behind and transformed that into a new energy. We should stop wasting things and recycle them.”
The album features the talents of Yaya Diallo (balafon, djembe, talking drum), Jeanne-Sophie Baron (violin), Fili 周 Gibbons (cello), Freddy Speer (double-bass), David Gossage (flute), Malia Pellerin (vocals), and Sara Rénélik (vocals)
Well-known for his book, The Healing Drum, Yaya Diallo is from Mali. His gift for infusing Western instruments into African traditional music is unique and may be heard on Live at Club Soda, Fienso, Nangape, and Kachii: Traditions to Traditions.
Entry points on the 11-track album include “Kachi Zie,” which blends exotic, classical music with African drums as chant-like vocals add dimension. An evocative violin provides a luminous flow. Whereas “Bon Yi” features rumbling, syncopated drums shaping a buoyant rhythm.
The Mozart-like intro to “Hakili,” initially dark and almost dirge-like, is followed by the entry of the cello, infusing the harmonics with resonant depth. At once somber and relaxing, “Hakili” immerses listeners in sonic, drifting waves of sound.
The final four tracks, “Gifono,” “Koredjuga,” “Teriya,” and “Hoo,” display the Wagnerian concept of leitmotif, adding variations of accents to a similar theme – an exhibition of Yaya Diallo’s genius.
Marvelously wrought, structured, and arranged, Kachii: Traditions to Traditions amalgamates both Western and traditional music into captivating songs.
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