Thursday, August 26, 2021
Cheick Hamala Diabaté
Time and ticket price to be announced shortly
Cheick Hamala Diabaté is a West African historian in the Griot tradition and is recognized as one of the world’s masters of the Malian traditional string instrument, ngoni. A sought-after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S. in 1995. He has performed at venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
A steward of the 800-year-old tradition of the Griot in West Africa, Cheick Hamala shares the oral history, music and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by parent to child. At an early age Cheick Hamala mastered the ngoni, a stringed lute and ancestor to the banjo. He learned to play the guitar from his uncle, and added banjo and several other instruments, but his renown remains with the historical ngoni.
Now a resident of Washington DC, Cheick has become it's most unlikely consultant — he’s performed for two presidents, the U.S. Congress and American string-music and blues legends like Bela Fleck and Corey Harris — reuniting his beloved instrument with its long-lost grandchild, the banjo.
“The music we griots play is not just about making nice sounds for dancing, it’s about giving a lesson to people about their lives. You tell them about what their grandfathers did, and what they should do now,” explains Diabate, whose griot roots run deep as first cousin to kora master Toumani Diabate, and nephew to legendary Super Rail Band guitarist, Djelimady Tounkara. “People trust the griot more than anyone else.”
Please note: Masks are recommended but not required at this event.
Photo [detail] courtesy the artist’s website