File alongside Salif Keita's recent "Mouffou". Yes Kassi Kasse really is that goog" TOP OF THE WORLD - Songlines
If it weren't for Salif Keita, Kasse Mady Diabate would surely be hailed as the finest male singer in Mali. Descended (unlike Keita) from a long line of hereditary praise singers, the griots, he is an exponent of traditional west African styles who has been happy to veer off to tackle Cuban pop or to work alongside the blues guitarist Taj Mahal.
His new solo set is in danger of being overshadowed by Keita's recent Moffou, just as his rousing Fode album in the late 1980s was overshadowed by Keita's classic Soro - but that doesn't mean he should be overlooked. He is a powerful, fluent singer, switching with ease from rolling ballads to slinky dance tunes such as Naaren. Here he is backed by a wildly impressive acoustic band that includes the Cuban star Cachaito Lopez on double bass, along with acoustic guitarists, drummers and exponents of local instruments such as the balafon and n'goni.
The best track of all, Fununke Saya, sets Kasse Mady's elegant vocals against inspired improvisational work from that genius of the kora, Toumani Diabate, with spectacular results.