Voices

As a hack myself, I ought not to be surprised if I myself become the victim of hackery. But last week I was royally stitched-up and for a moment, I confess, I had a sense of humour failure.

Album: Toumani Diabate, The Mande Variations (World Circuit)

Never has the Malian kora harp sounded so beautiful as in this new record by its greatest living master. Toumani Diabate was always able to develop patterns of sound with his 21-string instrument which were as richly complex as any improvisation by Charlie Parker, and he does so here more brilliantly than ever before. Devoid of amplification or accompaniment, his spell is powerfully reinforced by the sheer quality of the recording. The instrument sings; the music is rapt and reflective, the tracks luxuriously long, and the stylistic inflections are starting to resemble those of north Indian raga music.

Laura Veirs, Bush Hall, London

Between a rock and a hard place

Kimmo Pohjonen: Whatever you do, just don't call it a squeezebox

Louise Gray meets an improvising accordion player a million miles from 'La Vie en Rose'

Album: Tracy Chapman

Let it Rain, Elektra

Rufus Reid/London Jazz Orchestra, The Vortex, London

The smoothest of stylings from one of the greats
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