Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prince of the Kora: Prince Diabaté and "Mignabele"

Mignabele, our random song for today, is by Prince Diabaté, a griot from Guinea in West Africa. His father was a kora player who broke tradition and also taught Diabaté's mother to play, and Prince Diabaté gained proficiency by accompanying his parents to their concerts. At age 16, he braved outraged soldiers and his own fear to throw himself with his kora at the feet of Guinea's president to play a special song for him - the touched president personally sponsored his musical education. Diabaté takes as inspiration traditional Mandingo and Malinké music, but he also borrows from reggae, rap, blues and funk. He has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the kora," and he is responsible for creating the sound he calls Mandingo reggae. Mignabele can be found on his 2006 album Djerelon.