Trio Da Kali @ The Old Church, Stoke Newington – 26/10

With the recent release of their debut album Ladilikan, a collaboration with Kronos Quartet the enduring tradition seekers, Trio da Kali have been kept very busy, performing on Worldwide FM and at Rough Trade in the lead up to their show at The Old Church. The Malian griot super-group were actually formed with the purpose of combining their traditional Mande music with the Kronos’s classical strings, but on this occasion they proved, as they have done many times before, that they certainly don’t need any accompaniment. After a short but sweet vocal exposition by Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, whose profound voice really made use of the acoustics and ambience of the building, the group started their slow and sophisticated groove. The Church’s ambience only enhanced the earthy texture of the bass ngoni, which, plucked carefully by Mamadou Kouyaté son of the famous Bassekou, emanated out underneath the fluttering of Lassana Diabaté’s balafon. Lassana’s metronomic timing created a meditative atmosphere, where as the spiritual power of Hawa’s voice seemed to erupt from nowhere and demand attention as she stood humbly next to the ornate pulpit. At moments, during graceful transitions to double time, Hawa would begin to dance to the percussive rhythm of Mamadou’s ngoni, so emotively and with such grace you had to savour each moment. Initially I was disappointed that I would not hear Kronos’ input, however, to have a traditional music laid out so beautiful and sparse I’m glad it was so.