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Gardiner, Ian R.; Diabaté, Toumani
Languages: English
Types: Other
These scores and recordings comprise elements of an intercultural music project, commissioned by the Barbican Centre, London, that fused the traditional Mande music of kora player Toumani Diabaté with a Western orchestra and contemporary approaches to composition and arrangement. Two composers, Nico Muhly and myself, were given recordings from Diabaté releases, In the Heart of the Moon (2005), and Mande Variations (2008), to build adaptations for small orchestra around which Toumani was to play and improvise. For one piece, Manchester, he recorded a solo kora improvisation, which was then transcribed and adapted. Once the adaptations were drafted, rehearsals with Toumani, his musicians, and conductor Clark Rundell, led to structural and textural changes, and further revisions; the celebrated griot singer, Kasse Mady Diabaté, was added to the arrangement of the traditional song Mamadou Boutiquier.\ud \ud All the adaptations were recorded by the musicians, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, for eventual release on World Circuit Records; one of the adaptations, of the traditional song Kaira, has undergone subsequent development as a short piece for orchestra (commissioned by Manchester Camerata), and for a 15 instrument ensemble (written for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10). As an analysis of various recordings shows (eg, Diabaté Brothers of Kankan, 1954; Sidiki Diabaté, 1971; Kasse Mady Diabaté, 1990; Toumani Diabaté, 1991, 2005) the musical text of this song has undergone a continual evolution of paraphrase and elaboration so that only traces of earlier versions might be present in fresh arrangements. My final ensemble version is therefore a further paraphrase of the recording on In the Heart of the Moon, distributing its short repetitive phrases across the instrumentation, co-opting ‘postminimal’ techniques such as close canon and cross-metric patterning (themselves borrowed by Steve Reich from West African music!), and inserting my own improvised melody at the heart of the central section of the piece.

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