Cheick Hamala Diabate | Ake Doni Doni "Take It Slow"

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United States - Washington DC

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World: African World: African Folk Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Ake Doni Doni "Take It Slow"

by Cheick Hamala Diabate

Malian master musician retools his 800-year-old tradition in the roiling melting pot of Washington DC, featuring guest spots by bluesman Corey Harris, along with Indian tablas, accordion, banjo, organ, horns and more.
Genre: World: African
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Den Woulou Lalou
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5:09 $0.99
2. Wanto Doke
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5:39 $0.99
3. A.T.T. (Amadou Toumani Toure)
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6:37 $0.99
4. Tounka Mani
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4:33 $0.99
5. Mali De Nou
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3:39 $0.99
6. Oude Diallo
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5:32 $0.99
7. Djeli Fily Tounkara
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5:15 $0.99
8. Docteur Ibrahim Fofana
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5:22 $0.99
9. Den Den
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6:10 $0.99
10. Baba Sissoko Dabia
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5:20 $0.99
11. Ake Doni Doni / Take It Slow
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5:48 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Cheick Hamala Diabate is a West African historian in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S. in 1995. His performances have been featured at such notable venues as The Smithsonian Institute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest and many of the top festivals across the US.

A steward of the 800 year-old tradition of the Griot, the storytellers of West Africa, Cheick Hamala shares the oral history, music and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by parent to child. At an early age, Cheick Hamala easily mastered the ngoni, a stringed lute and ancestor to the banjo. He later learned to play the guitar from his uncle, legendary Super Rail Band guitarist Djelimady Tounkara.

At age 12, Cheick Hamala was invited to the National Institute of Arts in Bamako, Mali's Capital, where he studied music, graphic arts, cinema, literature and theatre. He began his international performing career upon graduation, learning from and playing with the full pantheon of Malian musical greats, including Toumani Diabate (a first cousin), Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure and Salif Keita to name but a few.

Upon coming to the US, Cheick Hamala was intrigued by the resemblance between his beloved ngoni and the American banjo, even sharing tunings and picking styles. He has since learned to play the banjo at a virtuosic level, including collaborations with Bela Fleck and Bob Carlin. Cheick’s album of banjo duets with Carlin, From Mali to America, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007 for Best Traditional World Music Album.

Now residing in Washington, DC, Cheick Hamala works with notable traditional African dance companies, serving as instructor, choreographer and performer. He also performs solo and with his ensemble playing traditional Manding Griot instruments. With the release of his most recent album, Ake Doni Doni – Take it Slow, Cheick Hamala has successfully fused the traditional rhythms and vocals of his ancestors with the more electric, American sounds he has absorbed over the past decade living in the US, including guest appearances by celebrated bluesman and good friend Corey Harris.

Whether playing solo, in a traditional trio, or rocking with his full 10-piece orchestra, Cheick Hamala always reflects the historical integrity of an important art form with a rich tradition stretching back hundreds of years to the formation of the Great Malian Empire.


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This is a fantastic album!
Cheick Hamala Diabate is a master of both tradition and innovation, creating an exciting and eclectic mix of West African sounds with deft touches of reggae, rock, blues and funk. Awesome stuff, with great contributions from Corey Harris and members of D.C.'s big afrofunk band Chopteeth. Not to be missed!


traditional Malian melodies with modern flourishes
I loved this CD. Diabaté is a master ngoni artist. At first listen, his music sounds straight-up traditional, but additional playing reveals a lush sound that I appreciate over time. The blow-away song is "Ake Doni Doni / Take It Slow", a fusion dance song with brass à la King Sunny Adé and great drumming.


Take it Slow - and have a good time doing it!
The n'goni is a traditional Malian instrument, but the music on this album is fresh and innovative, mixing in influences such as reggae, blues, rock and funk. The result is an eye-opening set of tunes that will make you shake your feet and turn up the dial! The music is tight, fun and incredibly varied - with notable contributions from bluesman Corey Harris and various members of the DC afrobeat big band Chopteeth. The title "Ake Doni Doni" means "Take it Slow" - a welcome message in this fast-paced world. Don't miss this one - it's a true gem!


This is fantastic music!
If you want to expand your musical horizons, you can't miss this album. Cheick Hamala Diabate is a master of the ngoni, a traditional West African stringed instrument, which is kind of like a lute. On this album, he deftly mixes tradition with touches of jazz, reggae, funk and rock, and uses varied instrumentation ranging from the accordion to the Indian tabla. The result is an innovative and exciting sound that is a joy to listen to. Veteran bluesman Corey Harris, as well as various members of D.C.'s big afrofunk band Chopteeth make valuable contributions to this excellent effort. The music on the album may be difficult to categorize, but it's certainly easy to like. A lot.