Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dembo Konte and Kausu Kuyateh - Tanante (1987)

Much as Foday Musa Suso introduced the griot and kora traditions to a broad U.S. audience in the mid- to late 80s, in the process also moving beyond tradition to experimentally apply the kora in other musical genres, Dembo Konte and Kausu Kuyateh extended their virtuosities through the U.K. and beyond. This first record of their collaboration was recorded Konte's home in the Gambia, by the folks at the enterprising and eclectic Rogue Records label.

The six songs on this album are steeped in tradition, and the two koras and voices blend hypnotically. Kuyateh is from the Casamance region of Senegal, and he plays his own 23-string kora creation. On the beautiful song "Yeyengo," he plays solo, creating intricate rhythms while playing his dazzling melodies.

This recording sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom, which it more or less was, and so the sound is not as bright as it might have been in a studio. This is not meant as a criticism, for the music is brilliant and you can feel like you were there, crickets barely discernible in the mix.

Most of the songs on this record, as well as others from a second early recording, were rereleased a while back on CD by the Rogue Records descendant, Weekend Beatnik. I recommend you get Kairaba Jabi at the fRoots site here; it appears to be out-of-print in the U$. Perhaps the reissue also was remixed? You may also search for Jali Roll, the rollicking collaboration between these kora masters and 3 Mustaphas 3 and others.


aduna said...


Agree with you, Tanate & Kairaba Jabi are both excelent.

David said...

Love the recommendations (and have just gone & bought them!) Great LPs, these latest ones - keeping up teh high standard you effortlessly manage! Keep up the good work