Maliba - Wiener Konzerthaus

Maliba - Wiener Konzerthaus


The Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, guitarist, actress and activist has long embraced modernity as well as tradition, splicing an edgy rock aesthetic into the pentatonic melodies and sensuous, raspy tones of Bambara music. Hugely charismatic, Diawara has played major festivals including Glastonbury, worked with the likes of Gorillaz, Herbie Hancock and Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca and formed a super group of Malian artists to record a song calling for peace in her troubled West African homeland.

This new show MALIBA, counted with a successful debut at the Norwegian Opera House during this month’s Oslo World festival, gathers Diawara’s guitars-keys-drums line-up augmented by a string quartet and a hip-swivelling Latin horn trio whose improvised solos and passages of call-and-response with the band kept the jazz-rock vibes at a premium.

The seven original songs on Maliba - a record made in collaboration with the Google Arts & Culture platform - commemorate the historic Timbuktu manuscripts, documents representing the long legacy of written knowledge and academic excellence in Africa, many of which were destroyed in 2012 by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels ravaging Mali’s north. Diawara brought Timbuktu to warm, vibrant life on tunes such as Kalan and One Day, looping her voice with a stomp of her guitar pedal, triggering her own backing vocals between decrying the Islamists who would ban education, travel and music, Mali’s lifeblood.
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