Vieux Kanté

The Young Man’s Harp

(Sterns)

This recently discovered recording was Vieux Kanté’s only commercial session before he died in 2005, aged just 31.

He was a virtuoso of the kamalé ngoni, the stripped-down “young man’s harp” (by contrast with the Hunter’s Harp or the kora): over these seven tracks he puts the instrument, with the six extra strings he added for multiple effect, through its paces.

“Sans Commentaire” shows off his ability to bend notes and wring a diverse range of tones out of the instrument; other tracks swing or lope or even howl.

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