Artist Profiles: Oumou Sangare

Oumou Sangare – Photo by Ed Alcock

Oumou Sangare was born in Bamako in 1968, to parents who had immigrated to Mali’s capital city from the region south of the Niger river known as Wassulu. Her mother, Aminata Daikhite, was also a vocalist, who, like most women of her generation, had to share her husband with two other wives. This influential experience of polygamy and its potential for causing pain and suffering made a deep impression on the young girl.

Oumou’s mother encouraged her to develop her talents as a singer, whispering to her terrified daughter just before she took the stage of Bamako’s Stade des Omnisports for her first public appearance at the tender age of six, “Sing like you’re at home in the kitchen”. After a period as a member of The National Ensemble of Mali, the training ground for many of the country’s top musicians, Oumou was asked by Super Djata Band veteran Bamba Dambele to accompany his traditional percussion troupe Djoliba in 1986 on a tour of Europe. Following this brief introduction to the musician’s life, Oumou returned home with the determination to form her own group and form her own sound based on the styles and traditions of her ancestral homeland, Wassulu.

For reasons which even Oumou herself is hard pressed to explain, the Wassulu region, has produced a remarkable number of great women singers since Mali gained its independence in the early 60’s. She regularly name checks pioneering figures like Coumba Sidibe, Sali Sidibe and Flan Saran as important influences, who together with many others forged a distinct style of music based on local dances and rhythms like the didai, the bari, the sigui and above all the sogonihun, a traditional masked dance performed mainly by young girls at harvest time. This unique style which came to be known as ‘wassulu’, combines the jembe drum and karyaing (“scraper”), propelled rhythms of the regional traditional dances with the jittery yet funky sound of the kamale ngoni (literally “young man’s harp”), an instrument which has played a key role in the development of wassulu. Adapted by the youth of Yanfolila in the heart of Wassulu from the donsongoni, an ancient harp used in rituals by the wassouloU forest hunters, the kamalengoni in many ways symbolizes youth.

Shortly after her return from Europe, Oumou started working with acclaimed arranger Amadou Ba Guindo. Together with a fine group of musicians including Boubacar Diallo on guitar and Aliou Traore on violin, Oumou and Amadou Ba set about constructing a tight and highly individual sound, aiming for something rooted in tradition and yet unique and modern at the same time. Oumou replaced the traditional horse-hair fiddle or soku with a modem violin which has not been used by in a wassulu lineup before and brought in the calabash or fie as a percussion instrument. After two years of hard work and experimentation, the group was offered a recording session, Oumou and company traveled to Abidjan in The Ivory Coast and in seven days at the legendary JBZ studios they recorded Moussolou, a collection of six original Oumou compositions.

Moussolou (Women) is a classic of modem African pop. In its own way, it represented something of a revolution in the way African music is recorded and produced. With their crystal clear and beautifully sparse sound based on traditional and mainly acoustic instruments, Oumou and Amadou Ba had concocted a viable alternative to what had previously been perceived as the only options: tacky syth’n’drum machine driven ‘modernity’ or unlistenable low-fi DIY trad ‘obscurity’. Ournou’s approach to her music also echoed the deeper struggle of her peer group for a cultural identity in which tradition is not thrown in the bin, but modernized with its essential character and strength intact. Oumou herself stresses the fact that although she speaks out against the abuses of traditional social customs such a polygamy, she herself is not antitradition. “Just look at the clothes I wear,” she says “aren’t they traditional!”

While the incredible success of Moussolou put Oumou firmly en the West African map, it was only after a fortuitous introduction by the legendary Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure in 1991 that UK label World Circuit picked up the rights for the album outside Africa and began to develop Oumou’s international career. “Moussolou” was given a universally positive reception on its worldwide release and Oumou, pen and inspiration never at rest, set about working on songs for her second album “Ko Sira” (“Marriage Today”) recorded in Berlin and released on World Circuit in 1993. “Ko Sira” includes “Saa Magni”, a moving tribute to the memory of Amadou Ba who died in a car crash. “Death struck down Amadou Ba Guindo,” she sings, “death spares no creature, nothing can stop it, not even fame.”

With Ko Sira, Oumou notched up her second best-selling album and consolidated her fame. Back home politicians rushed to associate themselves with her perceptive views on contemporary morality but Oumou remains defiantly non-aligned. She received numerous awards in Mali and Ko Sira was voted European World Music album of the Year (1993).

Despite the arrival of her first child she set out on grueling tour schedules in Africa and Europe and in 1994 she paid her second visit to the USA as part of the Africa Pete package tour, performing to delighted audiences a t Summer Stage in New York’s Central Park. For her third album Worotan (Ten Kola Nuts..-i.e….the traditional bride-price in Mali) released in 1996, Oumou worked with Fee Wee Ellis, James Brown’s erstwhile hornman and stalwart of the “Horny Horns”, who made an enthusiastic yet respectfully controlled contribution to the Sangare sound. Nitin Sawhney, the British Asian guitar wizard also made an important contribution to the album, especially on the final song, “Djorolen”, one of Ournou’s most moving compositions to date.

Perhaps the core reason for Wassulu’s national and later international popularity was that it offered people, especially young people, a welcome alternative to the ancient and predominant Malian tradition of the jalis, or praise singers. Whereas the jalis sing the praises of important men and the glory of their ancestors, Wassulu singers tackle everyday concerns in their songs. Whereas the jalis direct their praise at a particular individual (usually a pillar of society and community) hoping for a handsome reward, Wassulu singers sing for everyone with no particular financial kick-back in mind.

In October 2003 Oumou Sangare, was appointed Ambassadress of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)* at a ceremony in Rome. Her appointment as Ambassadress forms part of the FAO’s ‘struggle against famine.’ This appointment means a great deal to Oumou Sangare who has throughout her career been committed to addressing the inequalities faced by millions of Africans and of Women in particular. Thanks to her international fame and influence on her public, Oumou was been given the responsibility of making the public aware of the vast problems that Africa faces through her concerts and press conferences.

In 2017, Oumou released Mogoya, her first album of new material in eight years. The album featured powerful messages of empowerment and perseverance for African women, and addressing serious social issues such as depression and suicide. While retaining signature elements of her traditional Wassulu sound, this album took a different direction. Omou teamed up with an all-new French production team, A.L.B.E.R.T. (Vincent Taurelle, Ludovic Bruni, and Vincent Taeger) known for their work with Beck, Air, and Franz Ferdinand.

[Partially adapted from an original text by Andy Morgan]


Moussolou (World Circuit Records, 1991)
Bi Furu (1993)
Ko Sira (World Circuit Records, 1993)
Denw Mali (K7 SA, 1996)
Worotan (World Circuit Records, 1996)
Laban ‎(2001)
Non Stop (2003)
Seya (World Circuit Records, 2009)
Mogoya (No Format, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Nahawa Doumbia

Nahawa Doumbia

Nahawa Doumbia is one of the most popular singers from the Wassulu region in South Mali. She speaks to the younger generation of West Africa through her lyrics about love, the position of women in Malian society, and the plight of the African refugees in France. Her voice soars to didadi, a lilting dance rhythm from her native Wassoulou regionadded to the musical mix are the jazz and techno samples of French DJ Frédéric Galliano. Traditional instruments -bala, kamele ngoni, and jembe- along with bass and acoustic guitar back up Nahawa’s vibrant vocals.

Nahawa Doumbia was born in the small town of Mafélé, in the Sikasso region (next to the Ivory Coast’s border). Her grandmother had to raise the newborn because Nahawa’s mother died shortly after giving birth. Nahawa Doumbia’s grandmother lived in Manankoro, near Bougouni, the most important city in the Wassulu region (south of Bamako, Mali’s capital). The Wassulu region is well known for generating some of the best singers in Mali, like Oumou Sangare, Sali Sidibe or Dieneba Diakité. Even though Nahawa Doumbia’s family was not part of the jali tradition (the Manding caste that performs music), Nahawa’s mother predicted before she died that her daughter would be a singer. This is something that her family tried to prevent, resorting to the magical powers of blacksmiths, but to no effect.

The young Malian woman was discovered by civil servants from the Ministry of Culture when she was singing with her friends. Despite her father’s opposition, she sung at the Youth Week in Bamako in 1980, a biannual event in which artists from all of Mali participate. Nahawa Doumbia won the contest with the song “Tinye de be laban.” Since then and always accompanied by her husband, guitarist Ngou Bagayoko, her fame grew in Mali and Europe. She shared the stage Manu Dibango, Toure Kunda or Miriam Makeba.

In 1988 Nahawa’s first album, “Didadi,” came out. Ibrahima Sylla and Boncana Maiga, the creators of modern Manding music produced it. Didadi is, in fact, the music style with which Nahawa Doumbia stands out, a rhythm used by young people to compete at festivals and celebrations. In 1990 her second CD came out, with the collaboration of well known African musicians: Congolese guitarist Rigo Star, Cameroonian singer Georges Seba, percussionist Papa Kouyate and several of Salif Keita’s band members.

Nahawa Doumbia’s first recordings are characterized by the fusion of African music and modern technology. Her fourth release, “Yankaw,” meant a return to pure Wassulu music with vocals accompanied by bala, kamele ngoni, acoustic guitar and percussion.


La Grande Cantatrice Malienne – Decouverte 81 A Dakar (AS Records, 1981)
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne, Vol. 3 (AS Records, 1982)
Didadi (Syllart Records, 1987)
Nyama Toutou (Stern’s Africa, 1987)
Mangoni (Stern’s Music, 1992)
Yankaw (Cobalt, 1997)
Yaala (Mali K7 SA, 1999)
Bougouni ‎(Sonodisc, 1999)
Diby ‎(Cobalt, 2004)
Kabako ‎(Camara Production, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Madina N’Diaye

Madina N’Diaye – Photo by Katrin Haunreiter

Led by her love for Manding tunes, Madina N’Diaye was the only Malian woman on stage accompanied by a kora, one of the most emblematic instruments in the Malian musical heritage.

Armed with her kora, her compositions and her commitments for women’s causes, Madina opened the way to a new phenomenon in Mali: women who have access to musical instruments usually played by men or by the jeli (griot) caste.

Despite some traditionalists’ wrath, she made herself known as a talented author, composer and performer. Trained by well known masters like Toumani Diabate and Djelimadi Cissoko, she carried on her initiation by herself.

In 2003, Madina lost her eyesight because of a serious infection. Despite her handicap, she did not stop the rehearsals and completed an album.


Bimogow (Harmonia Mundi, 2011)
Midnight in Mali (Sterns Africa)


Artist Profiles: Issa Bagayogo

Issa Bagayogo – Photo by Fode Kone

Issa Bagayogo was known as “Techno Issa” in his homeland of Mali. He topped the charts in 2002 with Timbuktu, an album that spawned a host of imitators hoping to match his blend of Malian roots music and Western dance technology. But no one’s been able to pull it off as convincingly and as elegantly as Issa did.

Blurring the line between old and new is something that Bagayogo did since his first album, Sya, in 1998. He used the classic combination of a lone male voice and a small female chorus, in a call-and-response pattern; and in the tradition of Malian singers, who have always addressed social concerns, he often broke into a kind of speech-song that sounded like a distant ancestor of rap. His lyrics, too, bridged old and new. Traditional concerns like ethnic and cultural pride were side by side with songs about AIDS and drug use.

Bagayogo himself kicked a nearly decade-long drug habit before recording his album Sya. He used the ngoni. The 3-string n’goni is considered a spiritual instrument so Bagayogo used the 6-string version, which is more suitable for secular music.

Tassoumakan (meaning “Voice of Fire”) was Issa’s third full-length CD for Six Degrees, and representrd the maturing of an artist who had found a way to honor his country’s great musical traditions while creating a truly global, modern sound. His recordings were made in Bamako, Mali’s capital city, rather than one of the Afropop hit factories in Paris or London. Yves Wernert’s studio was set up in Mali in the early 1990s with the goal of allowing the musicians there to create their own brand of new music, and Bagayogo did that. His band included some of Mali’s top guitarists, like Karamokou Diabate and Mama Sissoko, and the result was an organic mix of West African and Western pop.


Sya (Six Degrees Records, 1999)
Timbuktu (Six Degrees Records, 2002)
Tassoumakan (Six Degrees Records, 2004)
Mali Koura (Six Degrees Records, 2008)


Artist Profiles: Habib Koité

Habib Koité – Photo by Dirk Leunis

Habib Koité comes from a great line of Malian Khassonké jalis. He studied music for four years at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) in Bamako, where he continued to teach guitar after his graduation in 1982. Koité’s association with the NIA provided the opportunity to work and play with a line-up of notable Malian musicians including Kélétigui Diabaté and Toumani Diabaté.

In 1988, Koité formed his own band, Bamada, which toured extensively throughout Mali. Winning first prize at the Perpignan Voxpole Festival in 1991 afforded him the chance to record the hugely successful single “Cigarette A Bana,” which scored a major hit throughout West Africa. Following the release of his next single “Nanale,” Koité was awarded the prestigious Discovery of 1993: Media-Adami Award by Radio France International (RFl). His album Muso Ko went straight to the top of the European World Music Charts.

Koité has developed his own style, which draws upon the rich traditions of Malian music mixed with his own modern sound. He has successfully adapted the chords and “feel” of the traditional kamale ngoni (youth’s harp) to his electric guitar, while delving into the deep traditions of Malian music to mingle the sounds of the tama and bala instruments with music from the Bambara, northern Takamba and Songhai regions.


Muso Ko (Contre-Jour, 1995)
Ma Ya (Contre-Jour, 1998)
Baro (Putumayo World Music/Contre-Jour, 2001
Fôly ! Live Around The World (Contre-Jour, 2003)
Afriki (Cumbancha, 2007)
Acoustic Africa in concert (2011)
Brothers in Bamako (Stony Plain Records, 2012)
Soô (Contre-Jour, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Ballake Sissoko

Ballake Sissoko – Photo by Benoit Peverelli

The sound of Ballake Sissoko’s 21-string kora identifies him, along with Toumani Diabate, as one of the best kora players of a new generation of musicians in Mali. His concerts with Taj Mahal’s Kulanjan project brought him international attention.

Ballake Sissoko is the son of Jelimady Sissoko, grand master of the Manding kora, a harp with twenty-one strings whose crystalline sound has won over audiences world-wide. With his ‘big brother’ Toumani Diabate, the son of Sidiki Diabate, another illustrious figure of the jeli (oral historians and musicians) tradition, Ballake is considered one of the best kora players of the new generation. He first learned the instrument very early on at his father’s school. At the age of 14, he replaced his father in the Ensemble Instrumental National and by the late eighties he was also playing in the electric bands of the most famous jelimuso.

He remembers the difficulty of initially playing with virtuoso guitar players like Bouba Sacko and Jeli Madi Tounkara, who had picked up the techniques of the ngoni but also used western scales and rock riffs. Rising to the challenge, he was the first local kora player to master western modes and still provide the rhythmic structure to accompany the dance steps of the singers. Simultaneously following different melodic lines with his thumbs and index fingers, Jeli Moussa’s playing combines a bass accompaniment, the harmonic progressions of the rhythm guitar and intricate solo improvisations. Jeli Moussa works regularly with Kandia Kouyate, and together they toured the USA, Europe and Australia.

After performing with the prestigious Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali, and accompanying many Malian singers, he came to fame by performing solo or in duet with Toumani Diabate, Taj Mahal and a host of other musicians. In the 1980s, Malian kora music was once more revolutionized when Jeli Moussa Sissoko (called Ballake Sissoko) and Toumani Diabate, the sons of Jeli Madi Sissoko and Sidiki Diabate, introduced chord progressions played on the guitar into their father’s repertoire.

Open to every new adventure and encounter, Ballake Sissoko is a gifted instrumentalist who, inspired by tradition, was able to forge a personal style. A visionary figure and fine melodist, he is an excellent accompanist and superb composer.

On Ballake: Kora Music From Mali, Ballake is surrounded by young musicians, friends and fellows met in various ways in Bamako, and his wife, the singer Mama Draba. Fassery Diabate, son of Keletigui Diabate, bala (West African xylophone) expert and well-known performer of Malian music, freed himself too, of tradition, while still respecting its spirit. Extremely brilliant, he never falls into just technical proficiency, but exhibits astonishing maturity. Adama Tounkara is Jelimady Tounkara’s nephew, the ‘guitar hero’ of Mali music, respected conductor of the Mali’s Super Rail Band. He’s one of those many young artists who have specialized in the study of the ngoni, a small, four-stringed traditional lute dating back to the 12th century (like the bala), and which was once played at the court of Sundiata Keita, founder of the Manding Empire. It is no doubt the ancestor of the banjo and is part and parcel of the colorful sound of traditional and modern Mali music. A difficult instrument, but one which Adama Tounkara perfectly masters. Hearing this very young virtuoso, you are immediately struck by the finesse of his playing sound and phrasing and the subtle swing of his very jazzy inventions.

The youngest of the group, Aboubacar Sidiki Dembele, provides solid back-up on the bolon, ancestor of the acoustic bass, and indispensable instrument for any respectable Manding group. Mama Draba, younger and less well-known abroad than her compatriots Kandia Kouyate, Amy Koita or Oumou Sangare, is still one of the greatest singers of the new Manding music. With her deep, powerful voice and impeccable phrasing, she’s one of the great performers of the epic jeli-style Bambara and Malinke traditions.

Ballaké Sissoko is one of the members of 3MA, the meeting of three African masters: Ballaké Sissoko on kora, Moroccan ud player Driss El Maloumi, and Malagasy musician Rajery. In 2006 Sissoko, El Maloumi and Rajery met and later released a remarkable self-titled debut album in 2008.

Another project involving Ballaké Sissoko is a duo with French cellist Vincent Segal. Their superb debut album Chamber Music was critically acclaimed. The duo followed with an equally excellent second album in 2015, Musique du Nuit.

3MA released Anarouz (“Hope”) in 2018. In addition to Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi, and Rajery, the album also includes percussionist Khalid Kouhen.


New Ancient Strings / Nouvelles Cordes Anciennes (Hannibal Records, 1999)
Déli (Label Bleu 2000
Master Musicians Meeting Club (Volume 1) (Saraswati, 2002
Kora Music From Mali (Indigo, 2002)
Diario Mali (Ponderosa Music, 2003)
Tomora (Label Bleu, 2004)
3MA (Madagascar Mali Maroc), with Rajery, Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi (Contre-Jour, 2008)
Chamber Music, with Vincent Segal (No Format, 2009)
At Peace (No Format, 2013)
Musique De Nuit, with Vincent Segal (No Format, 2015)
The Routes of Slavery 1444-1888 (Alia Vox, 2017)
Anarouz (Mad Minute Music, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Boubacar Traoré

Boubacar Traoré

Boubacar Traoré was born in Kayes, in 1942, in the Bambara region of Mali. His nickname, Kar Kar was given to him when he was the local school football (soccer) star. It means “the one who dribbles too much” in Bambara. Kar Kar is a self taught musician. He began to compose music at an early age, influenced by American blues and kassonké, a traditional music style from the Kayes region. Kar Kar’s older brother spent eight years in Cuba studying music and, once he returned to Mali, he helped his brother learn how to play the guitar.

In the early 1960s, Mali won its independence and the people of Mali awoke each morning to the sound of Kar Kar’s melancholic voice on the radio which sang of independence. Every person in Mali from his generation remembers having danced to his hits “Kar Kar Madison”, “Mali Twist” and “Kayes Ba,” in which he encouraged his fellow citizens to return and build the country.

Despite his radio success, Kar Kar could barely support himself. He earned a living as a tailor, shop keeper and agricultural agent. During the evenings he trained orchestras and sung for his friends.

After a twenty-year absence from the stage, in 1987, Boubacar Traoré was invited to perform for Malian TV and many people couldn’t believe their eyes. Unfortunately, two years later, life took a tragic turn when Boubacar’s wife, Pierrette, died. Dazed and heartbroken, Kar Kar left Mali to work in France. During the weekends he performed for his fellow immigrants until a British label, Stern’s, discovered him and produced two CDs. This led to European and North American tours.

Boubacar Traoré has risen from the ashes and still sings better than ever. Faithful to his roots, for the recording of his album “Sa Golo,” he sought out Baba Dramé, a childhood friend, in his hometown of Kayes, to accompany him on the calabash. On the title song “Sa Golo”, they are in the Kayes of the past where magicians in clanging outfits made the night air resonate.

The film, Je chanterai pour toi, about Boubacar’s life was released in 2001 and is now available on DVD.

After an erratic career with long periods of absence, it was at around seventy that Boubacar returned to the public eye in the company of Vincent Bucher, one of the finest French contemporary harmonica players. Vincent brought an international feel to Boubacar’s music, as demonstrated by two records – Mali Denhou (2011) and Mbalimaou (2015) – and many concerts throughout the world, accompanied by Alassane Samaké’s subtle calabash.

On “Dounia Tabolo” (2017), Boubacar decided to continue with this internationalization, bringing in musicians from the Southern States of the USA he had met on tour: Cedric Watson on violin and washboard, and Corey Harris on guitar. When he told them he wanted to add a cello and female voice to the album, Cedric Watson suggested Leyla McCalla.


Mariama (Stern’s Africa, 1990)
Kar Kar (Stern’s Africa, 1992)
Sa Golo (Indigo, 1997)
Maciré (Label Bleu, 1999)
Je Chanterai Pour Toi (Marabi Productions, 2002)
Kongo Magni (Marabi Productions, 2005)
Mali Denhou (Lusafrica, 2011)
Mbalimaou (Lusafrica, 2014
Dounia Tabolo (Lusafrica 2017


Artist Profiles: Cheick-Tidiane Seck

Cheick-Tidiane Seck

Cheick-Tidiane Seck, keyboardist, composer, and performer of popular and traditional Malian music, is one of the most prolific, experienced, and perhaps even under-appreciated musicians from the Manding-speaking region of West Africa. He possesses a rich and undeniably interesting history, filled with a diverse range of musical encounters with such artists as Salif Keita, Mory Kante, Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour, Hank Jones, Carlos Santana, Joe Zawinul, and a host of others. As keyboardist, composer, bandleader, singer, arranger, Seck presents a telling portrait of the varied and complex nature of the musician in West Africa, one that often features the mixing of cultures and regions, contemporary and traditional, and global and local.

Seck is a member of the Tukolor people. He was born in Segu, raised in the fervor of decolonization. Seck’s childhood was spent learning the local traditions of his Manding cultural heritage, but like many West African musicians, he looked toward Western popular music for a new, complementary source of inspiration. During the early 1970s, Seck played with the hugely successful Rail Band du Buffet Hotel de la Gare in Bamako, Mali, with Mory Kante and Salif Keita.

During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Seck continued to play with Keita, both in the famed Les Ambassadeurs, but also on various solo projects of Keita’s, such as the hugely successful and influential album Soro. The 1980s and 1990s have witnessed continued success for Seck, both in his extensive worldwide recording and touring, highlighted by his collaboration with jazz great Hank Jones on the respected album Sarala in 1995.


Sarala (Gitanes Jazz Productions, 1995)
MandinGroove (Universal Music, 2003)
Sabaly (Universal Music, 2008)
Assassin Live band (Livin’ Astro, 2013)
Guerrier (Universal Music Classics, 2013)
Cheick-Tidiane Seck with the UCLA Griot Society and Friends: West African Music Meets Jazz (UCLA Ethnomusicology Publications)


Artist Profiles: Coumba Sidibe

Coumba Sidibe
Coumba Sidibe, whose first album was the highest-selling album in Africa for a female vocalist, was known the world over as the multi-titled Queen of Wassulu music.

Coumba’s rise to eminence began when she was a leading singer with the group L’Ensemble Instrumentale du Mali and her presence brought Mali’s Wassulu tradition of singing to the forefront of the world music scene. Cited by Oumou Sangare and Ramata Diakate as being a primary influence, Coumba Sidibe was highly influential.

She died in Brooklyn, New York on May 10, 2009.


Artist Profiles: Balla Tounkara

Balla Tounkara

Balla Tounkara is a jeli (also known as griot by westerners) and master kora player from Mali, West Africa. He and his band, Groupe Spirit, have been bringing a spicy, eclectic blend of African, Latin, Funk, Reggae and Blues musical styles to enthusiastic audiences across the United States. The band regularly performs in Boston and New York City.

Balla has played with a host of world renowned musical artists, including: Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, Jimmy Cliff, Baba Maal, Super Rail Band with Djelimady Tounkara, Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Ami Koita, Toumani Diabate, Kine Lam, Adboulaye Diabate, Kandia Kouyate, Habibe Koite, T.J. Wheeler, John Sinclair and others. He regularly speaks out on important, pressing social issues such as AIDS and violence.

In 2002 the band was nominated as Outstanding World Music Act at the Boston Music Awares, and had the track Le Monde est Fou from their CD Be Right included on Putumayo World Music’s compilation From Congo to Cuba.


Kelefaba: The Peacemaker – Traditional Songs For The Kora (2002)
Yayoroba (Balla Tounkara Music, 2004)


Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion