I think it was 1988 that I somehow discovered the music of Toumani Diabate. I remember recling on the lounge blissing out to the sublime sounds of the Kora, before I even knew what a Kora was, let alone that the music I was listening to – his album Kaira – was being played by one person with just thumbs and two fingers. And even when I did find out more, I never imgained that there would come a time when I could hear that music live.
But last Saturday, and for the second time, I did just that. Diabate and his Symmetric Orchestra are part of the Sydney Festival this year and were given the honour of being (I’m pretty sure) the first ever African band to head one of the free concerts in the Domain. It was a wonderful night.
The first time I heard him live was almost two years ago, on the same day that DadaK and co departed for Ghana. My brother and I rushed from the airport, dragging a reluctant AM, to his concert at the Opera House. It seemed to me a landmark event that I shouldn’t miss – although with hindsight, perhaps it was trying to fit too much into one day.
Anyway, a facebook friend just posted a video of Diabate that just happens to be one of my favourite pieces – it’s from the album I listened to back in the 80s & it is a delight. Enjoy.