(excerpt from a beautiful video by Michael Shapiro at

Lovers of traditional guitar might appreciate the sound that Aboubacar “Badian” Diabate gets out of his instrument in this rendition of the Mande griot classic, “Lamban.”

Bajourou (meaning ‘big strings’ or ‘big tune’) is the name given to traditional Malian guitar music usually played at weddings and social gatherings. In this guitar stye, many techniques and sounds have been adapted from other traditional Malian instruments: the kora (harp), ngoni (lute), and balafon (wooden xylophone).

This video is an excerpt from a longer video by Michael Shapiro, and features a master of Malian guitar,  Aboubacar “Badian” Diabate.  This beautiful acoustic guitar style is rarely heard  in the U.S. because the few touring Malian bands usually feature electric guitar these days.

Check out the rapid back-and-forth movement of Diabate’s right index finger which is used to mimic (with one hand) the lightning-fast two-handed descending runs of the kora and balafon.

For more classic Malian acoustic Bajourou guitar music, see “Big String Theory” (Globe Style CD)  by Djelimady Tounkara and Bouba Sacko.


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