DONSO
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DONSO

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Donso

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As the saying goes, a group is only as good as its parts, and in the case of African music makers,
Donso, this rings perfectly true. The quartet are set to release their highly anticipated debut
this summer, and to fully understand the album, one must understand the minds from which it was created.

The man who is in many ways at the core of the sound is Pierre-Antoine Grison,
better known as Krazy Baldhead. Heiling from the South of France, he was originally trained as a pianist
before exploring the electronic side of music. After delving in and out of the genre for a
few years, in 2002, Grison “officially’ turned to electronic music on a full-time scale. He was quickly signed
to Ed Banger Records, where he produced 3 EPs and an album, "The B-Suite", released in 2009 which enabled him to show off his seemingly endless musical diversity.
This ability to constantly cross through all musical genres played a key role in the overall sound that runs throughout Donso’s debut record.

Also coming from France, percussionist extraordinaire, Thomas Guillaume was first turned on to
the rhythms of Africa during a concert featuring Burkinabe-based percussionists. He was so intrigued
by the sounds and performance that he traveled to Mali to learn to play Djumbe percussions,
but ended up falling in love with the Donso N’Goni. Staying in hunters’ villages for more than four years,
he perfected the craft of the instrument before returning to France. Playing around Paris with a wide range of Malian musicians, Thomas Guillaume contributed greatly to the rise in popularity of the instrument, as
well as contributing to the way in which the instrument was taught. He and Grison were neighbors in Paris, and after Grison heard the sounds of the N’Goni coming through his walls, the two connected and
began forming Donso.

Boasting a great Malian heritage, guitarist and Djele N’Goni player, Guimba Kouyaté brings all
of his learning and playing from perhaps the most pure place: from his ancestors.
With his family standing as one of the finest “jali” families, both his father and grandfather were
renowned for their expertise on Goni. His mother, a griot singer, taught him the craft of musicianship,
and this strong musical base in his family comes though clearly in his playing. It is also due to
this strong, tradition-based teaching that Donso is able to retain their authentic sound, even when
modern sounds and techniques are at play within the music. One can easily hear that the clashing sounds
of old and new are unlike anything else in music today, and one cannot overlook Kouyaté’s musicianship
and importance in this sound. He is collaborating with artists like Blick Bassy and Cheick thidaine seck.

Rounding out Donso is one of the finest vocalists to emerge in years, Gedeon Papa Diarra.
A descendant of Malian King Da Monzon Diarra, much like Kouyaté, Diarra solidifies the groups
authenticity, and his voice fuses brilliantly with the music over which he sings. Having studied singing
and dancing since the age of eight, Diarra began performing at cultural biennale in Bamako.
After moving to France in 1998, Diarra met legendary dance choreographer Julie Dossavie, and he
has been both singing and dancing with her since that time. With a voice that has both the rough and soulful sounds of his heritage, along with an undeniably beautiful tone, there are few singers on the
planet that can compare with Diarra. It was during a chance meeting withThomas Guillaume while he (Guillaume) was living with the hunting tribes that brought Diarra into the group, and his addition makes the group
sound like nothing else ever recorded.