- Released: August 2, 1999
- Label: Hannibal
Rolling Stone - 8/19/99, p.1154 stars out of 5
- "...an unusually relaxed collaboration....A jam-session informality prevails....Cultural exchanges don't sound more organic or revelatory than [this]..."
Spin - 9/99, p.1979 out of 10
- "...[Mahal's] chance to check out his abiding suspicion that all black musics are one, which he accomplishes with his trademark joie de vivre..."
Q - 1/00, p.84
Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1999."
Q - 10/99, p.1314 stars out of 5
- "...Taj Mahal hits his stride....the results are mostly first class...KULANJAN radiates heat and light. Stunning..."
CMJ - 1/10/00, p.5Ranked #19
in CMJ's "Top 30 Editorial Picks [for 1999] - "...profound and beautiful....A classic in its own right, [It] is one of those rare albums that looks great on paper and then follows through brilliantly in practice."
Dirty Linen - 12/99-1/00, p.59
"...an extraordinary recording, documenting eight very gifted musicians successfully finding a common ground between African and African-American musical styles."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/99, p.122
"...a bewitching, haunting fusion of styles that renders irrelevant discussion of the roots of the blues....By the end you'll be smitten..."
- 1.Queen Bee
- 2.Tunkaranke (The Adventurer)
- 3.Ol' Georgie Buck
- 4.Kulanjan (The Long-Crested Hawk-Eagle)
- 5.Fanta Sacko
- 6.Guede Man Na (Guede Was Here)
- 7.Catfish Blues
- 8.K'an Ben (Let's Get Together)
- 9.Take This Hammer
- 10.Atlanta Kaira
- 11.Mississippi-Mali Blues
Personnel: Taj "Dadi Kouyate" Mahal (vocals, guitar, piano); Kassemady Diabate, Ramatou Diakite (vocals); Banning (guitar); Ugouye Koulibaly (kamalengoni); Toumani Diabate, Ballake Sissoko (kora); Bassekou Kouyate (ngoni, bass); Lasana Diabate (Mande balafon).
Recorded at John Keane Studios, Athens, Georgia. Includes liner notes by Lucy Duran.
Personnel: Taj Mahal (vocals, guitar, piano); Kass?-Mady Diabat? (vocals, tenor, guitar); Ramata Diakit? (vocals); Banning (guitar); Lucy Duran, Ballak? Sissoko, Toumani Diabat? (kora); Lasana Diabate (balafon).
Audio Mixers: Rob Haddock; Jerry Boys.
Liner Note Author: Lucy Duran.
Recording information: John Keane's Studio, Athens, GA.
Photographer: Cosima Spender.
This informal collaboration between veteran American bluesman Mahal and Malian kora (it's a 21-stringed lute-like instrument) master Diabate was recorded in an Athens, GA, studio with a sextet of West African string instrumentalists and vocalists. It sounds like a half a world away, with the two mixed cultures merging to create traditional blues based on non-traditional musical values. Mahal's gruff, weary voice is soothed by the Malian crew's sweet tones; conversely, the leaders' picking styles sound as if they were harvested from the same land. Natural, unpretentious, and occasionally sensual, Kulanjan is classy world music without the stuffy undertones. ~ Michael Gallucci