Cat# STCD1127



Released: 05 Aug 2016
Country: MALI

Sterns TOP Veteran
Date/place on top
Dec 2017 - 6
Nov 2016 - 3

Price: £11.95

With notes and exclusive photos from Afropop Worldwide's Banning Eyre

Malian ngoni player and bandleader Vieux Kante died in 2005, aged just 31 years. Kante was on the cusp of international breakthrough and in the process of reinventing the way the ngoni is played. His genius was to find a way of playing sharps and flats on the pentatonic instrument, vastly increasing its harmonic possibilities - including allowing him to play the flattened thirds, diminished fifths and flattened sevenths that are the signature tones of jazz and blues.

Blind from childhood, Kante was bursting beyond Malian tradition from the get-go. In 1987, aged 13, he added two additional strings to the ngoniís six. In 1997, he graduated to 10. In 2000, to 12. With each step, the instrumentís range was extended.

Shortly before he died, Kante and his six-piece band recorded the album which Sterns are releasing as The Young Manís Harp. Kabadjan Diakite adds vocals to three of the seven tracks. Itís a blinder: the calling card of an acoustic musician who seemed destined, in his own way, to be as powerful a force for change as Jimi Hendrix was on the electric guitar decades earlier. No-one else has yet stepped up to the mark. The Young Manís Harp delivers much, but also reminds us how much more we have been denied by Kante's early death.

Words by Chris May

Originally published in Jocks&Nerds

'Eleven years on, his work deserves international recognition.' ★★★★ (The Guardian)

Track# / Song nametime 
01 Sans Commentaire 07:09
02 Lambanco 06:34
03 Fatoumata 05:07
04 Saradia 05:11
05 Sinamon 06:20
06 Nafolo 07:27
07 Kono 06:10

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