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Kimi Djabaté, born on January 25, 1975 in Tabato, Guinea Bissau. He is a Bissau – Guinean Afro–Beat/blues musician. Based out of Lisbon, Portugal, he continues to be one of the contemporary links in a chain of West African music that extends back in time hundreds of years.
Djabaté was born into a poor but musically accomplished family in an area recognized as a center for music, dance, and other creative arts. His interest in music started at the age of three when he started playing the balafon, the Africa xylophone, quickly learning other traditional instruments. In his pre-teens he left home to the neighboring village of Sonako to study the Kora. This helped him in the future by subsequently developing his guitar playing ability. His talent as a musician became much more than a childhood hobby for Djabaté as he was required to play at local ceremonies to help contribute to the family income. This became a source of conflict for Djabaté and his family. His parents and uncle forced him to perform against his will which took away from much of the free time other youth his age were enjoying.
Djabaté's parents as well as his uncle, through pressuring him to perform, provided the young phenom with excellent training in traditional Mandingo music. However Djabaté was also interested in popular African genres such as the local dance music style gumbé, Nigerian Afrobeat, Cape Verdean morna, not to mention western jazz and blues, all of which have influenced his music.
After touring Europe with the national music and dance ensemble of Guinea-Bissau, Djabaté settled in Lisbon, Portugal . He has lived in Europe since, yet remains devoted to the music he grew up with in Guinea-Bissau. In Europe Djabaté collaborated with various artists, including Mory Kanté and Waldemar Bastos. In 2005, Djabaté released his first solo album, Teriké, which he released independently. Djabaté second solo album, Karam, was released on July 28, 2009 under the label, Cumbancha. This one disc, fifteen song album has themes of social and political realities; the suffering of African people; the fight against poverty; freedom; women's rights; and love.
“A quiet tour-de-force. Djabaté´s musicianship is exceptional; his vocals have a genuine, unadorned grace.” – BillBoard
“Karam has a persuasive Latin sway (think Cesária Évora) and island breeziness that help make the understated melodic hooks of the album one of the most attractive listens of the year. And one can hear shimmering echoes of the late Ali Farka Touré and habib Koité, both fellow griots, in the bluesy guitar and supple phrasing.” – Boston Globe
“The songs themselves are delicious creations, lulling, melodic, and even catchy to Western ears, Karam is a lovely addition to the canon of African music, and the wider introduction of an excellent talent.” – Allmusic.com
“The album has hints of Portuguese saudade amid the cheery kora and balafón interplay. FOUR STARS! ” – Financial Times
Migratory Musics w/ Kimi Djabaté
Mussolu official video