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Mamadou Diabate and Percussion Mania: Master of the talking balafon from Burkina Faso

April 17, 2023 · 7:00 pm8:30 pm · Taplin Auditorium

Mamadou Diabate

Mamadou Diabate and Percussion Mania is known for its virtuosic balafon playing and rhythm and is characterized by two balafons as lead instruments. This ensemble is the only one of its kind worldwide – different from all other West African bands. Musical dialogs and spectacular balafon duels between Mamadou and his cousin Yacouba Konate are one of the highlights of the show.


Since 2001, Mamadou Diabate has released 13 albums. The album “Keneya” was the world premiere recording of the traditional balafon music of the Sambla people. This music is actually the tonal language of the Sambla people translated into music, a function known as surrogate speech. Musicians who don’t comprehend this language are unable to master this instrument.


Mamadou Diabate keeps his culture and its musical traditions alive through his extraordinary musical creativity. His virtuosity is outstanding—some people say he plays as if he has more than two hands. His self-developed technique is showcased with exquisite balafon solos which create the impression that three balafonists are playing together.


This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Department of Music and the Humanities Council.

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