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Mamadou Diabaté
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Musiques du Mali

Mamadou Diabaté is a young kora player from that notorious dyeli town of Kita, in the West of Mali. His father, Djelimory Diabaté, played kora in the National Instrumental Ensemble of Mali. As a small child, Mamadou lived with his father in Bamako, and when it was time to enter primary school in Kita, he already knew that he would live for his kora, not for studies. His mother, though, was worried about his school results and took his kora away. Mamadou decided to build his own kora and continued to play, and eventually left school.

He started playing at weddings and baptisms, and won a first price in a regional music competition at age of fifteen. In 1996, he was invited to join the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali for touring in the United States, and he decided to stay. He now lives in New York, where he is frequently invited to perform at concerts of Malian artists or with American jazz celebreties.

His style of kora playing is innovating and versatile, yet respecting the traditions of this ancient instrument and reminds the style of his cousin Toumani Diabaté, with whom he worked before Mamadou left for the United States.
Album cover 'Tunga'

Musicians on the Tunga album: Mamadou Diabaté (kora); Fuseini Kouyaté (ngoni), Famoro Diabaté (balafon), Cheick Barry (electric bass), Abdoulaye Diabaté (vocal on Dounuya and Mamadou Diawara), and Ira Coleman (acoustic bass).

Born: 1975, in Kita, Mali.
Style: semi-traditional instrumental (kora).


Title Year Label Remarks
Douga Mansa 2008 World Village 468082
Heritage 2006 World Village 468064
Behmanka 2004 Tradition & Moderne CD 50712 (D) Also released on World Village 468039 (USA) in 2005 with a different cover
Tunga 2000 Alula Records ALU-1019

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