Pascal Diatta

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Raised in a mission orphanage, Senegalese guitarist Pascal Diatta built his first instrument from wooden packing cases before his evident interest persuaded his guardians to provide him with a proper…
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Raised in a mission orphanage, Senegalese guitarist Pascal Diatta built his first instrument from wooden packing cases before his evident interest persuaded his guardians to provide him with a proper model. After the orphanage he joined the army, where he was christened ‘Keno’ (after the Kenyan athlete of the same name) due to his sporting prowess. By this time he was well on the way to becoming a master guitarist, possessed of a unique, wholly intuitive style which mixes quick runs of notes with a highly individual picking technique. His chief collaborator is his wife, the singer Sona Mane, who accompanies him on Casamancais songs. Appearing together at civic functions and ceremonies, with an increasing retinue of radio shows, the duo soon established themselves as gifted performers. Despite their popularity, Diatta was initially reluctant to record, having endured a bad experience on a project with Lyrichord Records. Rogue Records, based in England, eventually persuaded him to do so, and the resulting collection, Simnade (Listen!), earned rave reviews in the world/roots community. Together with Mane he toured the UK in its year of release to further acclaim.