How's this for multiculturalism: On Thursday night a Malian kamal'ngoni master will join a Northern California
finger-style guitar virtuoso for a one-of-a-kind performance in Southwest Colorado.
Only in Mancos.
I don't think there's much precedent," said Tami Graham, who is producing the intimate concert by Mamadou Sidibe and
Walter Strauss on Thursday night at Millwood Junction.
When you get right down to it, a six-string guitar isn't so different from a kamal'ngoni, though the latter tends to
have a few more strings. It's a West African hunter's harp by design that Sidibe uses as the central instrument to
write songs about politics and everyday life in Africa that have won him awards on three continents.
His music is the Malian equivalent of the American blues in both style and substance. Both Sidibe and Strauss get the
most from their instruments - these are pickers, not strummers - and the aural effect of their duo performance is that
of many more sounds than anticipated from a first look.
The two men are touring the Mountain West together, and Graham, who knew Strauss through a mutual friend in Sonoma
County, Calif., snagged the pair between stops in Telluride and several dates in Arizona.
I said if you ever come to Mancos, you've got to do a show; I think Walter had either forgotten I live here or
forgotten where Mancos is, but they'll be here," Graham said.
They don't have any recordings together yet, but they're working on one now, so you've got to see them live if you
want to hear them. And the setup at the Millwood is so great for a real listening audience."