While Diabate has continued to work with fellow Malian musicians since moving to the United States in 1996, performing at major venues such as Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian, he has also collaborated with an impressive range of artists, such as Irish vocalist Susan McKeown, jazz stars Donald Byrd, Randy Weston and Ben Allison and blues masters Taj Mahal, Eric Bibb and Guy Davis. Diabate's father Djelimory - a noted kora-player in his own right - taught Mamadou the essentials of the 21-string instrument. Sounding like a cross between a harp and a zither, the kora's versatility is demonstrated in fast, running passages with a truly African resonance.
Diabate has also been prolific, having delivered two superb albums on the World Village label in the space of 18 months. Behmanka (2005), a Grammy-nominated solo outing, was a dazzling display of kora virtuosity. He followed this triumph with the release of Heritage, a record that he cut with his outstanding band.
His move to the States has helped to establish him in the world music scene, and has been an invaluable aid in creating his personal sound. The master has often stated that it was crucial for him to make the move to the US to keep his sound fresh and not so derivative of others - namely his family. Mamadou will be joined by his five-piece ensemble, which includes outstanding musicians on balafon, calabash, talking drum, guitar and bass.
Tickets for the show are $20 in advance, $22 the day of the show and $15 for seniors, students and children. Tickets can be purchased at the Rosendale Theatre, the Big Cheese, Jack's Rhythms, the Woodstock Music Shop and online at www.hophigh.org.