Brand : Lamine Konte

Griot Legend

"ian herrick" |

This man is a genius

Lamine konte is an amazing performer. who would have thought of performing traditional jali music and reciting negritude poetry at the same time? konte sings in a rich baritone with only slighly rough edges, bringing much depth to epics like "cheddo" or love songs like "mariama," his fingers dancing over the kora or drum to perfectly accentuate his words. between verses of the songs, he recites famous poems of the negritude school, most notably "femme noire" by leopold senghor (this one during "mariama"). his french is good on these, with only a slight african accent, his annunciation impeccable. the result is amazing, it is if the poem and the song were always meant to be together. and yet not every track is this seemless blend of traditional and post-colonial elloquence. on one track konte recites/chants the poem "j'aime" accompanied only by his own drum, and sings not a word of any griot song. on other tracks, such as "mama tamba" konte performs impeccable griot music, innumerable notes spilling from his kora, his voice lively and rich. one of my favorite tracks is "casa savy" a slow, sad song about slavery. konte plays guitar on this track, showing that he is more than competent on this instrument as well.