Concerts from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 2013-2014

MARCH 23, 2016, Noon, No Tickets Required

Cheick Hamala Diabate Ensemble

Whittall Pavilion

Cheick Hamala Diabate is a West African historian in the Griot tradition, a sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer.  Diabate was born into a griot family in Kita, Mali. In West African tradition, the griot is a male troubadour-historian whose hereditary role is to preserve and share the history, genealogy, and oral traditions of his people, as well as providing advice and practicing diplomacy. As a child, Diabate learned to play the n’goni, a stringed instrument which is the precursor to the American banjo. His knowledge grew to include the history of Mali, passed down in his family for more than 800 years. Though Diabate plays the traditional trio of griot instruments—the n’gonikora (gourd harp lute), and balafon (wooden xylophone)—he also embraces the panoply of sound he discovered in America. Like many American string players, Diabate was intrigued by the similarities between the n’goni and the banjo. Seeking to mesh the two instruments, Diabate collaborated with banjo player Bob Carlin on From Mali to America, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album in 2007.  Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S. in 1995 and has performed throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada. Recent performances include such notable venues as the 2010 Earth Day Celebration on the Washington Mall, the Smithsonian Institution, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Cosponsored by Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division.

A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Most concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Occasionally, concerts may be in other locations, which will be specified above in the concert description. Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.