Tembo Rec. Sekou Batourou Kouyate et sa kora (ML,rec.1976,re.2013)***°
I love the kora, so of course I also love to explore demonstrative new techniques on the kora, from which I understand that every highly experienced player will show new and different visions. This album surely works well to use it to analyse certain different accents that are demonstrated, like the kind of restrained stops, or the kind of high pitched starting points that suddenly descend and then find a melodic rhythm soon after to be repeated, mostly carried by lower, and at times also middle toned rhythms, where high tones are added to change direction. Occasionally in one track (3), I also heard some dissonant responses, which again are an interesting, challenging and creative solution and idea. The whole album shows interesting varieties on a number of techniques of which I tried to describe a few aspects that were used.
I don't think the album has been compiled under the artist's control or that he really worked and focused entirely towards such a compilation; otherwise the label just simply shortened certain tracks or has taken out certain parts to fit better within the 40 minutes of an LP, it's hard to tell. It still is a rather short album.
Sekou Batourou Kouyate is one of the best-known kora players from Mali. He is also known to be a korafola, as someone who can make the kora talk. I can't tell exactly what that means. I can only hear that not all melodies and rhythms are followed too closely a steady rhythm; instead we hear near Arabesque accents and other interesting aspects (like those which I called restrains in playing).
The kora was also the main instrument for the African troubadours. On this album you can hear a bigger focus upon the instrument's qualities and possibilities. On many other releases the kora has a more accompanying role but of course what can be heard here will be used during accompaniments too, a bit more into the background.
Sekou Batourou Kouyate has also taken part in the foundation of the acoustic band Ensemble Instrumental du Mali, which was established shortly after the country's independence in 1960.