by Andrew Frisicano

Toumani Diabaté @ Stuyvesant High (more)
Toumani Diabaté

Over the last decade, Diabaté and his Symmetric Orchestra have performed almost every Friday night at Bamako's Hogon club. They have become one of the most popular bands in the city's vast music scene, celebrated across West Africa and beyond. Like the title [of 2006 album Boulevard de l'Indépendance] -- taken from the main road that bisects Bamako -- the group's name refers to a balance between tradition and progress: music preserved from the Mandé Empire that once connected West Africa and contemporary dance-music styles. The Symmetric Orchestra comprises players from Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Mali, and its instrumentation includes electric guitar, bass, and drums, as well as the more traditional kora [Diabaté's instrument of choice], ngoni, and balafon.

Fifty-fourth in a hereditary line of master musicians and griots, Toumani Diabaté is at once revered as the guardian of an ancient musical tradition and as a bold, boundary-crossing experimentalist. He has earned acclaim for inventive solo records as well as collaborations with Björk, Blur's Damon Albarn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, American bluesman Taj Mahal, and jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, among others. Diabaté won a Grammy in 2006 for his collaboration with the late Ali Farka Touré, In the Heart of the Moon.

Toumani Diabaté is on tour across North America through May. Right now, he's traveling with Béla Fleck's The Africa Project (a tour that stops by the NYC-area Tarrytown Music Hall on 3/29 - tickets are on sale). Diabaté then joins the Symmetric Orchestra for more dates that include NYC's (Le) Poisson Rouge on Saturday, April 18th (tickets) and Sunday, April 19th (tickets). Pianist Jenny Lin and Burkina Electric, respectively, open.

All tour dates and Toumani Diabaté with the Symmetric Orchestra video below...


Toumani Diabaté - 2009 Tour Dates
March 27# Ridgefield, CT - The Ridgefield Playhouse
March 28# Troy, NY - RPI
March 29# Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
March 30# Reading, PA - Berks Jazz Fest
April 1# St. Louis, MO - Shelton Concert Hall
April 2# Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre
April 3# Knoxville, TN - Tennessee Theatre
April 4# Savannah, GA - Savannah Music Festival
April 5# Gainesville, FL - University of Florida
April 7# Durham, NC - Duke University
April 8# Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
April 9 # Falls Church, VA - State Theatre
April 10# Philadelphia, PA - Harrison Auditorium
April 11# New Bedford, MA - Zeiterion Theatre
April 17** Princeton, NJ - McCarter Theater
April 18-19** New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
April 22-23** Amherst, MA - UMass Fine Arts Center
April 25** Burlington, VT - Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
April 27-28** Hanover, NH - Hopkins Center
May 1** Portland, ME - PCA Great Performances
May 2-3**Middletown, CT - Wesleyan University
May 6** Quebec City, QC - Le Palais Montcalm

#--With Béla Fleck's The Africa Project
**--Toumani Diabaté and Symmetric Orchestra

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