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  • Kronos Quartet & Trio Da Kali.
    Jay Blakesberg
Aga Khan Music Initiative presents Kronos Quartet and Mali’s Trio Da Kali at Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux, Switzerland, 10 July 2015 - The Aga Khan Music Initiative and the Montreux Jazz Festival are again joining forces – this time to present a musical collaboration between the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet and Mali’s Trio Da Kali.

The Music Initiative and the musically adventurous Kronos Quartet have collaborated since 2008 on a project that brings the quartet together with leading musicians from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to compose, arrange, and perform new music rooted in local cultural traditions.

The three musicians of Trio Da Kali – vocalist Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté and instrumentalists Fodé Lassana Diabaté and Mamadou Kouyaté –all come from a distiguished hereditary lineage of griots (bards) whose origins are in sprawling Mande culture of West Africa. Long-term collaborators, the artists aim to illuminate neglected repertoires and performance styles of the griots that comprise some of the African continent’s finest, most subtle and sublime music. In doing so, they bring a fresh, contemporary, creative twist to their musical art, breathing new life back into this ancient music.

Trio Da Kali presents a performance that revolves around the soaring, rounded vibrato voice of Hawa Kassé Mady, who performs the songs she grew up with in Kela, one of the most musical centers of the griot world. The program includes dazzling solo balafon pieces by the group’s leader, Lassana Diabaté, on the 22-key balafon. Few can match his lyricism and virtuosity, and the resonant sound of the rosewood keys of his balafon. Mamadou Kouyaté underpins the music with punchy bass lines on a large ngoni, West Africa’s oldest string instrument.

About the Aga Khan Music Initiative

The Aga Khan Music Initiative is an interregional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities. The Initiative was launched by His Highness the Aga Khan to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms. The Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. AKMI designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.

Learn more about the Aga Khan Music Initiative at:

Concert info

11 July 2013
Montreux Jazz Club

Trio Da Kali
Fodé Lassana Diabaté (22-key balafon)
Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté (vocals)
Mamadou Kouyaté (bass ngoni)

Kronos Quartet
David Harrington (violin)
John Sherba (violin)
Hank Dutt (viola)
Sunny Yang (cello)