Latest Guajiro Mirabal and World Circuit Records info


Abr 23 2008, 14h54

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Toumani Diabaté 'The Mandé Variations'

"One of the most magnificent instrumental records I've ever heard" David Harrington, Kronos Quartet

"stately, intricate, meditative, rooted in a culture, but never afraid to transcend it." Uncut****

"With such poetic virtuosity, surely Diabaté is one of the world's pre-eminent musicians in any genre." Observer Music Monthly****

"the very definition of a virtuoso performance and, on its own terms, close to perfection." Q Magazine****

"brilliantly played and starkly beautiful pieces." The Times****

"The Mandé Variations is so superbly crafted, so stunningly beautiful, that it enhances the lives of those who listen to it." Jazzwise****

Toumani Diabaté is one of Africa's greatest musicians. Now the Malian kora master releases his first solo album in 20 years. Featuring visionary interpretations of classic themes alongside ground-breaking improvised pieces, 'The Mandé Variations' is probably the most ambitious and challenging African instrumental album yet released. It is at once the definitive statement on where the kora is today and simply one of the most beautiful and melodically accessible albums you will hear this year.

The album was met with near universal acclaim, as this review from The Independent shows:

What with the various combos, orchestras and collaborations that occupy him, it's now two decades since Toumani Diabaté's first solo album, Kaira, which helped put kora music on the world map.

This follow-up is worth the wait, offering a dazzling demonstration of the breadth and virtuosity of Diabaté's playing, and of the innovative tunings and tactics with which he expands the instrument's traditional range. The most striking of these is probably the "Egyptian" tuning employed on the opener "Si Naani", which combines griot melodies from central and northern Mali usually restricted to the ngoni lute.

The gently undulating, cyclical arpeggios underpinned by a rolling bassline are typical of the album, climaxing in the first of several extraordinary flurries of notes. There is a similarly breathtaking exercise in adrenalised minimalism for his tribute to Baaba Maal's late kora player, "Kaounding Cissoko"; a more sombre piece dedicated to Diabaté's spiritual guide, "Ismael Drame"; and an improvised tribute to the guitarist, "Ali Farka Touré", in which the abstract phrases are presented like a string of individual glittering cameos.

By Andy Gill

Click HEREto listen to tracks from the album, watch a video clip, and look at album artwork. Read ' The Kora - Tales of a Frontier Instrument' a uniquely informative piece on Toumani and the history of the kora specially written by Lucy Duran.

Andy Hamilton MBE

2008 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the veteran jazz saxophonistAndy Hamilton. Andy was awarded with an MBE for his services to music, and following that well deserved honour was Andy's being awarded the 'Fellowship of Birmingham Conservatoire' in recognition of his tireless work to promote music in the city.

Another landmark achievement is Andy's reaching the grand age of 90, on his birthday on March 26th there was a special concert at Birmingham Town Hall, of which Andy said "It was the best night I have had in Birmingham since I got here in 1949 - I cannot believe I sold out Birmingham Town Hall - even Count Basie didn't do that!" On the following evening there was another special concert at the Bearwood Corks Club, where Andy has had a residency for many years. Andy's 90th birthday was also commemorated by a photographic exhibition in Birmigham's Symphony Hall which ran throughout March, featuring images taken by Ross Escritt over the past ten years.

Andy's debut album Silvershinehas been reissued on CD and is also now available to download from i-tunes, Andy's second album Jamaica By Nightis also available.

Now into his tenth decade Andy's residency at the Bearwoodis going strong and he still continues to teach future generations of jazz musicians, long may he continue…

Toumani Diabaté on TV and radio

The Malian kora maestro appeared last week on the acclaimed BBC TV series Later with Jools Holland.

Toumani has also been recorded on BBC radio in London recently including Radio 3 World Routes, World Service The Ticket, BBC 6 Music Tom Robinson. There will be more radio appearances coming up soon, watch out!

World Circuit i-tunes exclusives

World Circuit have re-released the much sought after and long deleted Cumbia Cumbia compilations on i-tunes. The albums were met with widespread praise on their original releases in 1989 and 1993: "Cumbia Cumbia is the most satisfying dance record of the year." Observer; "this album makes a case for cumbia's being one of the great overlooked dance musics of the Caribbean" New York Times; "a sound that goes straight to the hips." Independent. Re-issued together as a 30 track compilation, the albums sound as irresistible as ever and will be an unexpected eye-opener for those not familiar with the Colombian dance music.

To co-incide with the Buena Vista Social Club Presents Cachaíto López, Guajiro Mirabal, Aguaje Ramos, Manuel Gálban UK tour this spring, World Circuit have teamed up with i-tunes to offer a special compilationfeaturing tracks from across the Buena Vista Social Club series including Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Omara Portuondo, Angá Díaz, Cachaíto López, Guajiro Mirabal, Afro-Cuban All Stars. The compilation will be available from 8th April for only 9 weeks.

Cheikh Lô and Vieux Farka Touré on U2 tribute album

In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 features original interpretations of classic U2 songs by Cheikh Lô, Angelique Kidjo, Les Nubians, Vieux Farka Touré, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, Vusi Mahlasela, Soweto Gospel Choir, Tony Allen, Waldemar Bastos and others.

The liner notes include demographic information, e.g., each artist's country of origin, date of independence, population size, main export, major issue facing the region, recent actions taken to improve its current state, and relevant websites with additional information. All the songs were recorded exclusively for this album, and a portion of its proceeds will directly benefit The Global Fund, the world's largest international financier of the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

World Circuit internet developments

The hugely popular social networking website Facebook has just launched its much anticipated music features and World Circuit are one of the first labels to launch these new style profiles for our artists. The pages will have all the usual Facebook features but they will now have MySpace style additions such as music to listen to, videos to watch, images to view, tour dates, and news updates. Interestingly, for those not signed up to Facebook you will now be able to view the artists' pages without having to subscribe to the service. We have pages for all World Circuit artists including: Buena Vista Social Club, Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabaté, Oumou Sangaré, Orchestra Baobab, Cachaíto López, Guajiro Mirabal, Cheikh Lô, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Angá Díaz.

In addition to this regular updates will be made to our pages on MySpace, i-like, ,, YouTube, and of course the official World Circuit website remains the definitive place for all things World Circuit - click HERE, to go to our new videos page.

On Tour


Africa's perfect pop group are back on the road! With the success of 'Made in Dakar', their acclaimed new album, the iconic Orchestra Baobab are simply one of the 'must-see' on tour at the moment.


Cachaíto López and Guajiro Mirabal are two of the original members of the hugely successful Buena Vista Social Club. Together with Aguaje Ramos and Manuel Galbán, they have performed on many of the subsequent Buena Vista Social Club Presents series of albums and tours over the past 10 years. Following their hugely successful sell-out UK tour in 2007 the band are back on their return UK tour this April and May.


This spring, following on from the extraordinary reception of "the Mandé Variations", Toumani Diabate's first solo album in 20 years, Toumani will come to Europe to perform a series of rare solo concerts.

The recent live World Premiere of "The Mandé Variations" at the prestigious El Real Alcazar de Sevilla in Spain left the audience spellbound and was described by the The Independent as "a performance that surpasses anything....for sheer scale of ambition and technical achievement ".


The ngoni maestro is touring throughout Europe this spring/summer with his band ngoni ba, including a special show at London's Barbican Centre which also features Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Otis Taylor and Don Vapie, as part of their Blues – Back to the Source series.


Cheikh is playing a number of dates this summer as part of the 'Still Black, Still Proud - an African Tribute to James Brown' tour. With bandleaders and James Brown alumni Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley, the band will also feature Tony Allen on drums, South African vocal sensation Simphiwe Dana and rising star Wunmi - dates have already been confirmed in London and Brightonwith more accross Europe to be added.

For information on all World Circuit tours go to theWorld Circuit website.


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