Tour & Artist Information

Talking Drum Close Up

Tour Information

Experience the artists’ modern exploration of the traditional stringed music of Mali, West Africa’s Bambara, Soninke, and Wasulu cultures. Delivering an exquisite demonstration of both modern and traditional Malian sounds, the Strings Showcase features guitar, kora, vocals, and two Malian ngoni styles – the lute-styled jeli ngoni, and the harp styled kamelen “youth” ngoni.  This tour provides a unique lens on the unique variety of scales and rhythms which formed the backbone of much early American music, and permeates West African music today. A riveting show for jazz, blues, and rock artists – as well as world music fans. Interpretations by Assigué Dolo further enrich the music.

2016 Tour Schedule

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Meet The Artists

Assaba Playing Ngoni Banjo

Assaba Dramé

jeli ngoni; tama (talking drum):  Assaba is master of the jeli (or Bamana) ngoni, an instrument critical to the musical makeup of the Savannah and Sahel of West Africa, and instrumental inthepre-history of jazz and the blues.  Dramé is one of the most sought after collaborative artists in Mali today, performing, touring, and recording with everyone from MymloKoné (Mali’s biggest rap artist), to Midnight Ravers,  to Miriam Koné, Andre Sampaio, and the Skatalites.

Kokanko Sata Doumbia

kamelen ngoni, calabash, vocals:  Born to a jeli mother and a blacksmith father, Wasulu musician Kokanko Sata defied the odds to become one of Mali’s few female kamelen ngoni masters.  Her skills with this “youth harp,” bluesy Wasulu vocals, and fierce percussion solos led to a friendship with Damon Albarn, resulting in her 2005 solo album.  A veteran of concert and educational tours throughout the U.S. and U.K., she has jammed with American artists such as Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck, and Toubab Krewe.

Kokonko Playing Ngoni
Lamine Playing Guitar

Lamine Soumano

kora, guitar, vocals:  Born and raised in Kirina, Mali, this proficient musician is highly regarded in the Malian music industry as a revered and respected teacher, performer, composer, arranger, and producer.  His current positions include Artistic Director for “Ministar Mali” (the Malian version of American Idol).  Soumano has also toured with some of West Africa’s biggest stars including Ami Koita&Adama Dramé, as lead on guitar and kora.  He is mentor and collaborative partner with Asheville, NC-based Toubab Krewe, and works with Fulbright-mtvU Fellows as teacher, arranger, and video editor.  Lamine has toured and taught extensively throughout Africa, Europe, and the U.S.