Mamadou Diabate
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Mamadou Diabate


Band World Jazz


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• Sababu man dogo (2001),
• Keneya (2002),
• Sira Fila (2003) mit Bekadiya
• Folikelaw (2005) mit Sigi Finkel
• Kamalenya (2006) mit Percussion Mania
• Balanfola (2008),
• Sambla Fadenya (2009)

• Sigi Finkel’s CD „African Heart“ (2002)
• MDR-Video: “Magic Marimba Project” (2003)
• Sigi Finkel’s CD „Sarango“ (2005)
• Antilopenmond (Hörbuch) mit dem Koraspieler Mamadou Diabate (2007)
• Dobrek Bistro (2007)
• Richard Filz' s CD Resperanto (2008)



I was born in 1973 into a West African "Jeli" family in Burkina Faso. In my family there is a long tradition of practising the profession of story telling and music making. The very first Diabate (originally Dian-baga-te = the irresistible) was mentioned in the Sundiata epic in the 13th century.

The Diabate musicians around 1980. The young boy in the middle is me My former teacher Daouda Diabate My grandmother Tene Traore the legendary jelimuso of the Sambla My brother and former teacher Sadama Diabate [My Nephew Seydou Diabate called KANAZOÉ]
click on the pictures to magnify them

I was about 5 years old when my professional education began. My first teacher was my father Peneque Diabate, who in his days was considered the best balafon player far beyond the borders of the Sambla culture. "Marijata", his praise song for Thomas Sankara was very popular in the 1980s, his xylophone music could be heard as the signal on Radio Burkina for over ten years. My older brothers, Sadama and Sibiri, who, today, are the most popular balafon players of the Sambla, also taught me. I was 8 years old, when I began to complete my apprenticeship with well-known balafon-players of the neighbouring cultures like Siamou, Tusia, Senufo, Gan, Lobi, Dagara and Bobo. My virtuosity - some people say, I would have more than two hands - I owe to my former teacher DaoudaDiabate, the still unrivalled and "untameable" balafon player of the Tusia.

The Landaya Musicians in 1997 Moussa Coulibaly, the jembe wizard With Moussa Coulibaly and Siaka Keita in Vienna 1999 With the Frères Coulibaly in Geneva

I was still a young boy, when I decided to extend my skills and widen my musical horizons with the help of modern or rather neo-traditional musicians such as Farafina, Sababougnoma, Frères Coulibaly, who later became world-famous. This happened against the will of my parents, who expected me to stick by our Jeli-Tradition. In 1988 they finally reconciled with me, when my father was looking for a suitable second balafon player for the National Cultural Festival (SNC) of Burkina Faso. During the following years we repeatedly won the festival‘s first prize. The video recordings of our successes are to be found in the archives of the Burkina-TV. In 1991 I met Ousmane Dembele ("Zoumana") from the musician-dynasty Dembele who was the same age as myself and played the jembe excellently. Together with Moussa Coulibaly (a member of an other important musician-dynasty) and Abdoulaye Dembele we formed a group which later became well known as "Landaya". I became the composer and the balafon soloist of the group. In 1998 we won the first prize for the National Culture Festival.
Kasumama Festival 2002 With Moussa Dembele, Ousmane Dembele and Kalifa Diarra in Wiesen(A) 2001 At the Wiesen Sunsplash 2001 With Sigi Finkel in Lahore(Pakistan) 2004 With Samba Sunda in Krems(A) 2006

Since April 2000 I live in Austria and have given lot of concerts both in inland and abroad (England, France, Hungary, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Swiss, Tunisia, Indonesia, Turkey) and participated in some Festivals (Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), Cape Coast (Ghana), Lahore (Pakistan), Saalfelden (A), Wiesen (A), Rudolstadt (D), Tabruk (Tunisia).

In August 2001 I released my CD Sababu man dogo (A Chance is not just Anything) with own compositions in the popular Bobo-Dioulasso style, where I played all instrumental parts myself. It was presented in October 2001 by the Austrian TV (ORF2) and Broadcast (Ö1).

My CD Keneya (Well-being) with balafon music of my people the Sambla got released in May 2002. I had to play all instrumental parts myself, because I was (and still am) the only Sambla in Austria and this music - or what outsiders consider being beautiful music - is in reality the Sambla language transposed into music. Musicians, who don't speak this language can't play it at all. This CD is the world premier recording with Sambla music.

In the early 2002 I set up my own Afro-Jazz band "Bekadiya" consisting of musicians like Achim Tang (double-bass), Thomas Berghammer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Werner Wurm (trombone), Shayan Fathi (percussion) and Nicholas Baker (kpanlogo). Our CD Sira Fila (Two Ways) was presented by the Austrian Broadcast on the 24. September 2003. I play balafon, talking drum and jembe on the CD. The crystal-clear, natural female voice belongs to Fatoumata Dembele, a member of the world-renowned group Farafina.

In July 2003, together with Alex Jacobowitz (USA), Jan Heinke (D), Maika & Sara Gomez (E), Anja Losinger (CH), Terje Isungset (N) I participated in the Magic Marimba project of the Tanz- und Folkfest Rudolstadt (Germany). I composed two pieces for the festival. The German TV station MDR produced an excellent 60minutes documentation about the rehearsals and the concerts. MDR and 3SAT have broadcast it.

Rehearsal with Samba Sunda at STSI/Bandung With Effendi Jaenudin (S