Saturday, August 08, 2015

Tonight at the Starburst: Grammy Nominated Cheick Hamala Diabate

Cheick Hamala Diabate 
Cheick Hamala Diabate in concert. Photo provided by H Street Main Street

Grammy nominated artist Cheick Hamala Diabate will perform a free concert at the Starburst Plaza starting at 8pm tonight. It sounds like a great event that could appeal to all ages. Full details appear in the H Street Main Street press release below:

Cheick (pronounced "shake"),  is a West African historian in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the US in 1995. His performances have been featured at such notable venues as The Smithsonian Institute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest and many of the top festivals across the US.

He began his international performing career upon graduation, learning from and playing with the full pantheon of Malian musical greats, including Toumani Diabate (a first cousin), Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure and Salif Keita to name but a few.

Upon coming to the US, Cheick Hamala was intrigued by the resemblance between his beloved ngoni and the American banjo, even sharing tunings and picking styles. He has since learned to play the banjo at a virtuosic level, including collaborations with Bela Fleck and Bob Carlin. Cheick’s album of banjo duets with Carlin, From Mali to America, was nominated for a grammy in 2007 for Best Traditional World Music Album.

Look! It's a YouTube video of an NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Cheick Hamala Diabate

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