Catalogue Number:HNCD1444
Release Date:1999-08-02
Description:Perennial blues road warrior Taj Mahal and Malian kora (harp-lute) ambassador Toumani Diabate join forces, blend textures, and intermingle idioms on this cleanly produced 12-song set, recorded in 1998 in Athens. Their common ground is best tilled on "Atlanta Kaira" and the title track, where the plucky filigrees and glittering tone of the kora sound right at home with Taj's darker, barking National Reso-Phonic steel. "Ol' Georgie Buck" and their canny cover of Muddy Waters's "Catfish Blues" are the album's blues banners, which find Diabate's kora delightfully incongruous, while the walking African ballad "Tunkaranke" leans most heavily toward the motherland. Fleshed out with fine vocals by Taj, Kasse Mady Diabate, and Malian chanteuse Ramata Diakate ("Queen Bee"), and other African instruments, the sound is defiantly acoustic, intimate, and surprisingly true. --James Rotondi