Prince Diabate

Prince Diabate


A 4-5 piece ensemble from Guinea, West Africa, with musicians based in Paris, France. Lead by Prince Diabate on kora, kamelen n’goni & vocals, the group performs highly rhythmic, traditional and contemporary Manden fusion music.


"Les rhythmes mandingues sont revisités par PRINCE DIABATÉ qui marie avec dextérité tradition et sonorités plus contemporaines comme le reggae, le rap, le blues et le funk. Il a une maîtrise parfaite de l’instrument, son jeu est rapide, et sa musique reste authentique et actuelle.", Montreal, Canada, Aug 2007

"Prince Diabaté, un artista de la kora guineana demostró el dominio que tiene de este instrumento."
Prensa del festival Fimec-Chiclana, El Puente Chiclana Noticias, Spain, July 2010

Prince Diabaté hails from a prominent, Malinké family from Guinea, West Africa. He learned his art from his father, Djéli Sori Diabaté. Breaking with tradition, his father also taught Prince's mother, Hadja Djéli Sira Cissoko, to play kora. The young boy became an exceptionally early starter by accompanying his parents to their concerts throughout West Africa. Despite his father's disapproval, he decided to make music his life. When he was eight years old, former Guinean President, Sekou Touré, came to his home town, Kindia, for a celebration in Independence Square. Braving the outraged soldiers and his own fear, the young musician grasped his kora, threw himself at the President's feet and played a special song for him. Greatly touched by his skill and audacity, Sekou Touré became his benefactor, enrolling him into the National Children's Theatre in Conakry. At sixteen years of age, he won first prize in an international kora competition in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and acquired his nickname, 'Prince Diabaté, Prince of the Kora.'

In 1986 he met the singer, Amara Sanoh, and the two started to perform together. They disbanded in 1998. A world class musician, Prince Diabaté (the 'Jimi Hendrix of the kora') has toured in Africa, Europe, Canada and the US, developing a distinctive style, characterised by a lightning-quick, percussive technique coupled with a dynamic stage presence and the occasional, funky use of the wah-wah pedal.

Considered to be one of the leading kora players of his generation, Prince Diabaté brings not only total mastery over his ancestral tradition, but a commitment to renew it through fresh ideas and exchanges with musicians from many cultures. His collaborations have included artists and groups as diverse as The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Adam del Monte (Flamenco) Hassan Hakmoun(Gnawa) and Grammy winners, Michael Brook (guitarist/producer/composer) and Ozomatli (Hip-Hop fusion.)

Moving easily between the classical traditions of Mandé music and modern fusion, Prince Diabaté has incorporated reggae, rap, blues and funk into his work. Recently, he has adapted the music of the Wassolou to his repertoire, which he plays, self-taught, on the kamelen n'goni. The result is entirely his own: a fresh, powerful brand of twenty-first century Manden music, which remains strongly rooted in traditional codes and references.

He has recorded three CDs: LAMARANAA (Buda Musique) in 1993, awarded a four star rating; NEW LIFE (Sunrise Records) in 2001, which features guest artists Michael Brook and Hassan Hakmoun and DJERELON (Kora Company Collection 2006.) This latest, semi-acoustic album was recorded in Guinea in 2006 and is arranged and produced byKante Manfila, best known for his work with Salif Keita. It has been lauded by critics and the public alike.

Prince Diabaté is the recipient of numerous American grants and awards and, now, after eight years in the United States he has relocated to Europe. From his base in France, he has created a group in Paris, France for European performances.

He is also performing as a kora trio with his 2 childhood friends, N'Faly Kouyate and Ba Cissoko. These three griots from Guinea, all based in Europe, created the trio, entitled Kora Friends, to perform a more traditional Manden repertoire.

BOOKING (worldwide except Spain)

Linda Bawden Allen, Cora Company Management at:
+[01] 310-402-7946 (USA) or
+33 [0]634-95-94-59 (FRANCE) e-mail: or


Suzani McPherson-Gomez, Vox Mundi Management at:
+34 [0] 664.477.088


Lamaranaa (1993) Buda Records/Allegro (France)
New Life (2001) Sunrise Records/Orchard (USA)
Djerelon (2006) Kora Company Collection (Guinea/USA)

Acoustic Africa (2000) Manteca World Music (UK)
World Festival of Sacred Music-Los Angeles 2002 (USA)
18ieme Edition du Festival International Nuits d'Afrique -2004 (Canada)
20 ieme Edition du Festival International Nuits d'Afrique - 2006 (Canada) Global Rhythm Magazine
Compilation Series- 2007 (USA)


NPR (Talk of the Nation),KPFK, KCRW, KXLU, KAOS, KUNM, KUSP, KZSC, KKUP,WKPS,KPFA,KBAC, KABF,WAER, KZSU, RADIO-CANADA, In The Loop (Radio Australia) RFI & Radio Zinezin (France) Onda Cero Intl (Spain) Radio Voce Spazio (Italy)
INTERNET RADIO, (Rhythms International) , (UK) (Canada), feveredbrainnetwork (USA)


"Expert arranging sets this recording apart from many contemporary recordings of Mande music. Diabate's worldly wanderings have served him well and while he honors and participates in his rich tradition, he does not simply mimic familiar formulae, but charts a course of his own. He reveals his broad experience and modernity with subtlety and cool. Djerelon establishes him as an important player in the growing wave of West African acoustic pop.' -BANNING EYRE, AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, JULY 2006.

"A fine album of West African acoustica from the American-based kora maestro." - FLY MAGAZINE UK
JUNE 2007

"Prince Diabate is one of the most exciting kora players working today. He also sings both traditional Manding music and his own compositions, and is very interested in fusing traditional music with modern ideas without having the modern elements dominate. He's assisted in DJERELON by the great and very successful Kante Manfila, who has been getting further back into his roots the last several years. Despite occasional electric bass and western flute, the overall feel of DJERELON is traditional West African... There is a definite groove...DJERELON holds an infectious sound that will never grow old. It's not radically different from Prince Diabate's earlier cds, but perhaps more realized: his best yet." - DISCOVERIES.NET JANUARY, 2007

"Prince Diabaté is a Guinean kora player who resides in New Mexico and he has returned
to his native country to work with local musicians on this atmospheric semi-acoustic CD. Using a mix of traditional songs and original compositions, Diabaté neatly keeps a foot in both the traditional and modern camps, making for a satisfying showcase of contemporary West African roots music. Kanté Manfila is co-producer and arranger, and there’s something of the Malian legend’s classic album 'Tradition' about the whole approach to the album. From the ripple of descending balafon notes that usher in interlocking acoustic guitar melodies and soulful female harmonies, to Diabaté’s subtle kamelen n’goni and kora embellishments and rich, woody timbre of a voice, there’s an effortlessly relaxed feeling to the recordings.... Also worthy of note is the flute playing of Becky Allen and Sadio Diallo, which adds a welcome flightiness at crucial points on many of the tracks." - FOLK ROOTS, UK, DECEMBER, 2006.

"A very snappy world beat set that doesn't follow convention as much as march to its own drummer; any fans who know him from before won't be disappointed while any new fans will be delighted."

"A sure winner for West African music fans."
- KAOS 89.3FM, USA, MAY, 2006.

"Incredible African music that is sure to whisk you away to West Africa."

'Like much of the best West African music, Djerelon is upbeat, but with a blue-toned soul, as minor-keyed phrasings snake their way through the predominantly happy melodies. Although its distribution is limited, Prince Diabaté’s latest CD (his first in five years) is well worth hunting down.'

''Beautiful, modernized and multilayered African Mandingo griot pop... This album made me sit up and listen not just because it's pretty-sounding, but also because Diabate has created some musical sounds that I haven't heard before...

'All in all a pleasant hour of traditional music.'

'Un album ambitieux, enregistré à Conakry avec une vingtaine de musiciens : des cordes raffinées, des tambours et du balafon qui nous parlent pour vrai, des flûtes subtiles ou déchirantes. Un disque fluide.' LE DEVOIR, MONTREAL, CANADA, JULY 2006.


FOR VIDEOS /princediabate

Set List

As a performer, Prince Diabate's professional engagements include festivals, concert halls, museums, clubs, schools, universities, colleges and house concerts.

Each concert is different and tailored specifically towards the audience. Prince Diabate has an extensive repertoire of traditional Manden pieces, re-arranged by him, as well as original, modern compositions for the kora and kamelen n'goni. His lyrics are sung in Malinke, Susu, Peulh, Baga, Wolof, French and English.

Prince Diabate also delivers workshops in festival settings and at schools and colleges.