Balla Kouyaté: Originally from Mali, West Africa, Balla is a djeli, a musician and oral historian in Malian society. He learned his instrument, the balafon, from his father, who is the guardian of the world’s first balafon, which dates from the 13th Century and is recognized by UNESCO as one of the 19 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Ron Murray: Enjoying a four-decade career as a performing artist, arranger, bandleader, teacher, and producer in the U.S. and around the world, Ron has had a career that demonstrates his musical eclecticism. He is one of the few professional guitarists specializing in the seven-string guitar, and he performs jazz, classical and flamenco styles. His latest project, Vuelo, is a bossa-flamenco fusion band featuring jazz-drummer great Arti Dixson.
Issa Coulibaly: A master djembe drummer, originally from Mali, West Africa, Issa earned a reputation as a vocalist and mesmerizing performer while touring Africa and Europe before coming to the United States. Pictured here, he is performing sungurubani, a song played as a dance of courtship for young women. Issa is available for performances, workshops, residencies, and drum circles that are educational and fun for musicians of any age and range of experience.
Idrissa Koné: From the river city of Mopti, Mali, Idrissa learned to play tama around the same time that he learned to walk. After spending his childhood performing at the street parties that accompany weddings, baptisms, and other events, Idrissa landed in New York, where he quickly began attracting attention playing with artists such as Balla Kouyaté and Rachel Brown.
W. Ché Cartafalsa: Ché is a professional musician, instrument maker, and educator whose work brings him from recording studios to night clubs, and from concert halls to West African street weddings. Performing on an array of percussion instruments from many cultures, he makes presentations to students from pre-school to the college level as well as out into the community.