Sekouba “Bambino” Diabaté was born in the small village of Siguiri (Guinea) near the Malian border. He is descended from griots or jeli (a caste of musically gifted oral-historians, messengers and bards in West Africa), his mother Mariama Samoura was one of the most celebrated singers of her time.
At the tender age of 12, Sekouba was discovered by Guinean President, Sekou Touré and at the President’s urging he became the frontman for the state-sponsored group Bembeya Jazz National. Joining the group earned him the moniker ‘Bambino’ due to his young age and to differentiate him from one of the group’s guitarists also named Sekou Diabaté (Sekou ‘Diamond Fingers’ Diabate). Sekouba is also known as “The National Treasure of Guinea”.
After the privatization and subsequent break-up of Bembeya Jazz, Bambino became the lead singer of Africando before leaving the group to pursue a solo career. Since that time Bambino has recorded several successful solo albums and collaborated on several others with Bembeya Jazz and Africando.
He has been featured on compilations such as: The Rough Guide to Mali & Guinea and World 2003 by EMI. His song, “Decouragé” was remixed by British DJ, Charles Webster and featured on the Buddha Bar Vol. 2 compilation.
Sekouba Bambino is an ambassador of Guinean music and griot culture, breathing new life into ancient rhythms and bridging the divide between traditional and modern Africa while remaining true to his heritage. He is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter of virtuoso talent.
Critically acclaimed and internationally sought-after, Bambino remains a champion of the people. Bambino is a Red Cross ambassador and an advocate for change seeking to educate the world about the plight of children suffering the effects of poverty, war and disease. Bambino’s lyrics speak to the human condition reinforcing basic values and encouraging us to treat one another with kindness and respect.
His soft-spoken demeanor and profound humility have endeared him to the hearts of the African people and in spite of his superstar status Bambino has not forgotten his role as a griot; a role that he does not take lightly. It is his love for his people and for the whole of humanity that has helped him transcend language and cultural borders to spread his dream of peace and tolerance wherever he goes.
Télégramme, with Bembeya Jazz (Sonodisc, 1985)
Koumbatènèn, with Bembeya Jazz (Sonodisc, 1986)
Sabou, with Bembeya Jazz (Sonodisc, 1987)
Wakelen, with Bembeya Jazz (Sonodisc, 1988)
Sama (Super Sélection, 1990)
Destin (Super Sélection, 1992)
Syli National I (Super Sélection, 1994)
Kassa (Syllart Production, 1996)
Bonya (Syllart Production, 1996)
Gombo Salsa, with Africando (Syllart Productions, 1997)
Syli National II (Super Sélection, 1998)
Baloba, with Africando (Syllart Productions, 1999)
Bétécé, with Africando (Syllart Productions, 2000)
Les leader de Guinée, with Groupe les leaders (Syllart Productions, 2000)
Sinikan (Syllart Productions, 2002)
Ambiance Ballon (2004)
Ma Guinée (2011)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.