The Banjo & the Ngoni
The Banjo & the Ngoni, New Orleans and Mali
A Musical Dialogue Between Don Vappie and Cheick Hamala Diabaté
In April, FSP hosted an informal conversation and concert about the links between African and American music with New Orleans banjo virtuouso Don Vappie and GRAMMY-nominated Malian ngoni master Cheick Hamala Diabaté. The two spoke about their own musical traditions and performed songs in order to explore the links between the African ngoni and the American banjo.
Don Vappie is a world renown jazz musician and presenter from New Orleans. He leads the Creole Jazz Serenaders, a classic New Orleans jazz orchestra, as well as his various jazz and R&B combos. He has produced and recorded numerous CDs and film sound tracks and is star of the PBS documentary American Creole: New Orleans Reunion. Known for his virtuosic banjo skills, Don is a stellar bassist, guitarist and vocalist. Add to that his commitment to the cultural creole music of New Orleans he calls “creole jazz.”
Cheick (pronounced “shake”) Hamala Diabaté 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 U.S.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.
Co-sponsored by Black & Global Banjo Roots Concerts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics.
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