Fula Brothers are a burst of unbridled creative musicianship and happy making. A high spirited meeting of veteran performers from West Africa and America, each with a history of innovation and collaboration with some of the beloved musicians of these cultures. Together they weave West African hunters harp, fingerstyle guitar, drums, vocals, and a bounty of improvisation into an ecstatic groove based dialogue which the heart - and the feet - cannot resist.
Mamadou Sidibe | www.musicmali.com
Master kamale ngoni player, Mamadou Sidibe, is from the Wassoulou Region of Mali, West Africa. Twenty-five years ago, Mamadou played a groundbreaking role in the transformation of this region’s music from its origins in hunters’ sacred melodies – played on six string donso ngoni (hunter’s harps) – to a music of philosophical observations, politics, and daily life. Mamadou was one of the first to expand the instrument’s range with two extra strings, creating the popular kamale ngoni. He has recently enhanced the kamale ngoni even further by devising 10 and 12-stringed instruments.
Mamadou, with artists Coumba Sidibe, Oumou Sangare and Ramata Diakite, spread the new sounds through recordings and performances in Europe, Africa and the United States. Not only is Mamadou an award-winning musician and master of the kamale ngoni, he is accomplished on several other African instruments as well.
“At the center of his music is the same sensibility that you’ll find in Muddy Waters: a sense of music as a tool for the re-creation of everyday life into something special, even magical.” ~ Stylus
Walter Strauss | www.walterstrauss.com
Fingerstyle guitarist Walter Strauss’s multi-layered style draws on American roots, jazz, classical, and cultural guitar traditions – but what makes his playing utterly unique is how it is informed by other global stringed instruments. He has delved deep into the harp traditions of West Africa, integrating elements of their richly layered styles and rhythmic sensibilities with his own, and rendering traditional pieces on the guitar. Walter has collaborated with revered practitioners of the kora (the 21-stringed West African harp) and with early kamale ngoni (hunter’s harp) innovator Mamadou Sidibe. Malian kora legend Toumani Diabate calls Walter’s guitar rendering of the music of the kora “inspirational”, and proposed Walter's collaboration with his son, Sidiki Diabate, a West African star in his own right.
In addition to his solo CDs and performances across the US & UK, Walter's collaborations have spanned an impressive range of musicians, from maverick multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven and Grammy-winning Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate to Scottish fiddler Johnny Hardie and Grammy-nominated guitar maestro Alex de Grassi. He has performed internationally at venues like the Kennedy Center, the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland, and Le Diplomate in Bamako, Mali. Recently, he created music for the Ken Burns documentary film “Defying the Nazis.”
“A many-layered, multi-textured, one-man folk festival” ~ Maverick Magazine