ASCOLTA Mamadou Sidiki Diabate
Mamadou is Toumani Diabate’s brother. The last son of Sidiki and Mariama Kouyate. His public name is Mamadou Sidiki Diabate, to distinguish him from his cousin who lives in the States, but in Mali the people call him Madou fitini, small, because he has an older brother named Mamadou. His growing art is becoming rich and mature and is not at all small.
I already thought that Mamadou had his own personal style, a technique which can be compared to that of his brother Toumani, who has in his hands a mysterious and deep magic, thanks to which it is enough for him to touch the strings of the kora to deeply touch the listener.
If you listen to Mamadou today, his impetuous virtuosos and metallic young feeling has matured into something warm and sensitive. It must be passion that allowed him to grow so quickly, passion that absorbs him completely and that makes him think, as if his attention is all towards the inside. Thanks to the daily work, hours and hours dedicated to improvisation, to curiosity towards electronics, to new technologies and to many artistic experiences and also to a lively creativity, Madou has build up his road, although it seems he has not reached his limit.
His young wife Safi Diabate, is a good singer and also very attractive especially during public shows, when her vocal charisma and her physical presence emerge in all their attractiveness. People would say that she had a nice voice but not powerful as the voice of big jelis. But her voice matured and the dark tone has become strong and today she is very admired and demanded.
While in Safi success seems to have puffed up her self esteem and her satisfaction, Madou also conscious of his value, remained gentle and delicate as if he is too satisfied by his own music to concentrate on searching admiration and other people’s appreciation.
Notwithstanding his full agenda he wanted to please us when we asked him to play for us, for Wallai Records and the special relationship established between us, both in Bamako and Rome, was the sparkle illuminating his performance.
Safi sang songs from the traditional repertoire; Kaira, which represents more than ever the blood running in Sidiki’s family up to Toumani, that they can interpret better than anyone else. When Madou played on his own, he did it to please us with something special, so he played Kelefaba and some original, beautiful and touching songs composed by him.
Africa is full of artists like Mamadou Sidiki and Modibo le gaucher, extraordinary talents and completely ignored by the record industries in the north part of the world that is by now for years concentrated in protecting a mined territory – more than from piracy – from the degeneration of tastes of music consumers. It is the result of choices that sacrifice beauty and emotions in favour of the only one metric that really measures the value of work i.e. profit that transforms all into merchandise. This is how most of the African music that reaches us is wrapped up to sound sweeter to our ears just like a product to be quickly used up.
The music that comes from Mamadou fitini’s kora, modulated by his nervous hands, is instead like an unforeseeable symphony of rain drops, a nocturnal melancholic lament, an eternal and delicate poem beyond words, an intimate combination of love and genius that can be played for long and that has no expiry date. Nothing more to say . . . . . . . but listen in silence and awaken the enchantment.
Author: Mamadou Sidiki Diabate & Safi Diabate
Label: Wallai Records
6. Saya Magni