We celebrate one of West Africa’s most enduring musical legacies in the story telling and playing of the 21-string instrument, the kora. Three of Mali and Senegal’s most celebrated players join us for an unforgettable night of ancient music tradition passed down through generations of griot families.
Mamadou Diabaté, is from western Mali and also comes from a family of griots. His cousin Toumani Diabaté is known for his collaboration with Ali Farka Touré, earning a Grammy Award (In the Heart of the Moon, 2005). Young Mamadou began playing the kora at age 4 with his father, who was part of the Ensemble instrumental du Mali. While still a child, he accompanied griots in ceremonies throughout the region and then played in Bamako under the tutelage of his now famous cousin, Toumani.
Diabel Cissokho’s musical pedigree is exceptional. He became Baaba Maal’s kora player and he has toured internationally with his family’s band Bannaya, as well as with acclaimed musicians such as Cheikh Lo, Ernest Ranglin and Youssou N’Dour. Diabel has been welcomed everywhere from WOMAD to Glastonbury to London’s Barbican, where he performed alongside Femi Kuti.
Sourakata Koite is a Paris-based kora-player from Senegal. His 1984 debut album En Hollande was recently reissued by Awesome Tapes From Africa to widespread acclaim.