The Sky Is the Same Colour Everywhere

Private: Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté

Released 05 May 2023

  1. Wayfarers of the Legends
  2. The Path of No Return
  3. Stay Here
  4. Joyful Sun
  5. I'm Speaking to You
  6. Whereto
  7. Anywhere That Is Not Here
  8. Is Anyone There?
  9. The Sky Is the Same Colour Everywhere

Liner notes

Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté are both well-known soloists in their own right, but this duo recording is something special taking us on an improvisational musical journey into new landscapes. “It’s like this music was already there waiting for us,” says Toumani. “And it’s like the two of us knew each other before – in another life.”

Kayhan Kalhor, from Iran, is the leading player of the kamancheh, the Persian spike fiddle. Played kneeling down, Kayhan says it’s “like riding a wild horse”. It has four strings played with a short bow. He’s collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, Shujaat Khan, Erdal Erzincan, the Rembrandt Trio and many others. Toumani Diabaté, from Mali, is likewise the leading player of the West African kora, a 21-string harp-lute and a sublime creation of gourd, cow skin and fishing line. He’s won three Grammys and recorded with Ballaké Sissoko, Taj Mahal, Ali Farka Touré, Björk and the London Symphony Orchestra. This is Kayhan’s first collaboration with an African musician. “The qualities of minimalism and trance that I like in Persian music are also there in Toumani’s,” says Kayhan. “That’s how I like to think and tell a story. That quality in African music has always attracted me and I think Toumani does that really well.”

The idea for the duo came from Michael Dreyer, director of the Morgenland Festival in Osnabrück, Germany where Kayhan had frequently played in several other collaborations. The preparation was minimal, not even a discussion about scales or structure, but just a sound check in which they “checked certain things” and then simply played about 90 minutes of music.

That performance was in September 2016 and they followed it with a short European tour to a few other venues, although Kayhan says the shape of the piece didn’t really change. They recorded it in Paris after the final concert in Brussels.

Kayhan Kalhor & Toumani Diabaté — The Sky Is The Same Colour Everywhere (extract)


Performed by Kayhan Kalhor on kamancheh (spiked fiddle) and Toumani Diabaté on kora (harp/flute)
Improvisation by Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté, based on traditional themes
Sound Engineer Noël Yann
Recorded at Midilive Studios in Villetaneuse, France
Mixed by Ramin Zamani and Kayhan Kalhor, Sonic Design Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Mastering by Ramin Zamani and Kayhan Kalhor, Sonic Design Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director Isabel Soffer
Published by Soroud Music (Kalhor) / BMG (Diabaté)
Special thanks to Saul Presa

@Kayhankalhor @toumaniDiabatémusic

A Real World Design by
Marc Bessant
Cover photograph by Elia Clerici
Artist photography by Andy Spyra


Further Listening

  • The Road To Damascus


    Released 17 September 2010

    Syriana is more than just a band. It's a concept. An attitude. A perspective. A place where themes of tolerance, liberty and hope come wrapped in Arabic rhythms and played through a Western filter. Where free musical interaction is a given - despite the ironies bestowed by political reality. It's a project without a single dominant instrument. In Syriana the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett

    Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett

    Released 11 September 2019

    Exquisite collaborative album from pianist Thomas Bartlett and hardanger d’amore virtuoso Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, of The Gloaming. Recorded in Mexico City, New York and in Bath.

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