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Abou Diarra

Mix et Métisse

Abou Diarra

Abou Diarra is a singer/songwriter, trained by a virtuoso blind master named Vieux Kanté. He is a n’goni player raised by the ancient culture of the Mandingo hunters. Abou traveled on foot for several months, only with his instrument as companion; he went to the most remote villages of West Africa, and modern metropoles. This way he collected and combined traditional, urban, and contemporary sounds of the regions, resulting in an incredible mix which talks by itself about the travel, movement and exile, including touches of jazz, blues and reggae. He is among the new West African hit artists, and is nicknamed the ‘N’goni Jimi Hendrix’ because of his stunning talent with the instrument, which has no comparison.

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Photo by Francois Mallet

Diarra was born in 1975, in the region of Sikasso in southern Mali, known for being the home of the Wassoulou music (African blues). He began to play music since he was very young, when his mother used to take him to the ceremonies and traditional festivals. During his concerts, Abou is accompanied by his band, “Donko Band”. Coming from West Africa, these people are musicians very passionate about Mandingo music, and African genres. Abou’s first album, “Kono Kan Bora”, was released in 2008, and is composed by 7 tracks. His second album named “An Ka Belebele”, released in 2010, was very successful in Mali, and includes 8 tracks. The following album “Sabou”, which saw the public light in 2013 is a tribute to the cultures he knows and admire, including 11 songs to enjoy. This musician is an artist who doesn’t like to create a new project unless he is filled by a powerful inner necessity, that’s why his album “Koya”, released in 2016, is his most recent work. “Koya”, named like his mother as a tribute, is the result of Abou’s thought to go in a new direction. Influenced by traditional culture from Mali, Abou’s style and life are unique, his pieces are made of very strong texts, speaking about the evolution of society, the experiences he has lived, the conversion process of Africa into the modernity, and the wisdom of the Mandingo empire. He is, undoubtedly, someone to follow.

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