Zani Diabate and Les Heritiers
In the 1980s and at the helm of The Super Djata Band, Zani and his fellow musicians became the toast of the Western concert circuit. As critic Robert Christgau put it: “Super Djata’s groove is harder than Zairean soukous and fiercer than Senegalese mbalax”. As a Diabaté, one of Mali's most renowned griot families, Zani had been schooled in not just the kora and balafon but also dance and percussion, and perhaps his distinctive guitar playing reflected this synthesis. Blistering solos with unpredictable and angular episodes identified him as one of the region's great players with a style that, in some ways, was well-suited to European ears. Sadly whilst putting the finishing touches to Tientalaw Zani, according to reports, entered the studio with guitar strapped on in readiness but shortly suffered a stroke. He later died in a Parisian hospital on the afternoon of January 5th, 2011.
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