From Mali to America


Cheik Hamala Diabate and Bob Carlin (5-String Productions, 2008)

Two master music makers — one from Mali in West Africa, the other from the United States — join together in a cross-cultural program that creates a musical dialogue between two traditions. From Mali to America blends the musical traditions of West Africa and America. Since the American banjo grew from Western African roots, this exploration should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that it has taken this long for the ngoni and banjo to join together to explore and illuminate this obscure corner of American musical history. This collaboration by masters from two musical cultures features a dialogue that blends seamlessly and demonstrates the common roots of their music and instruments.    (from

Diabate and Carlin play “Konkoba:”

Also below is an ngoni/clawhammer banjo duet between Bassekou Kouyate and Dirck Westervelt from “In Griot Time” (Stern’s Africa, 2000).

Kouyate and Westerveldt play “Wild Goose Chase:”

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