The 2010 Grammy for "best traditional world music album" went to Malian kora player Mamadou Diabaté for Douga Mansa ("The King's Vulture"), a marvel of solo virtuosity.
"The 23-stringed harp-lute produces a unique, haunting sound that's beguiled just about anyone who's ever heard the instrument played by a master…. It can be as bold and dynamic as a grand piano, or as intimate as a solo violin…. Diabaté flies completely solo here … and it's astonishing to hear the variations and variety of sounds he manages to coax out of his instrument on tracks like 'Toutou Diarra' and 'Segou Tara,' where he ranges from regal and stately to gut-bucket, lowdown bluesy."—Sing Out!
"Enthusiasts of American banjo styles will be interested in hearing … an ancestor of the contemporary banjo. Diabaté and his band mesh traditional African sounds with American blues and jazz into a dizzying mélange of music."—Roanoke Times