Music is language, native language across the planet. A powerful or poignant dialogue can unfold without ever speaking a word or reading a note – music is an open pallette for collaboration that transcends backgrounds or genres, language or familiarity. Walter has teamed up with artists across cultures ranging from a duo with Grammy-winning kora player Mamadou Diabate to Scottish fiddler Jonny Hardie and Grammy-nominated American guitarist Alex de Grassi. Here are some of the collaborations Walter has engaged in:
Sidiki Diabate and Walter Strauss:
After a decade exploring West African music, Walter traveled to Mali to learn directly from the great kora player Toumani Diabate, and to connect with Malian musicians in the capital Bamako and Malian villages. In Bamako, he met the kora player Sidiki Diabate, Toumani’s son and a rising star in the international music scene. Toumani was keen to bring the two together to collaborate. Their first shows, with Brazilian bassist Mario Caribe, were to sold out audiences at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland in January and February of 2014. Visit the Sidiki Diabate and Walter Strauss page.
Walter had been collaborating with Malian kamale ngoni player (hunter’s harp) Mamadou Sidibe for a few years when the idea was born to invite multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven, known for his work with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia, into the project – giving rise to Mamajowali. The trio is a high energy mix of West African and American roots music, with a big soulful sound and a hoppin’ dance floor. Visit the Mamajowali page.
2 Guitars with Alex de Grassi:
Walter and American guitar maestro Alex de Grassi have joined forces for a number of concerts over the past few years. They are currently collaborating on pieces for recording and will be doing some collaborative concerts. A weaving of two fluid and explorative sensibilities, the combination yields an intricate while richly accessible sound.