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Joe Craven, Mamadou Sidibe, Walter Strauss

Mamajowali features three veteran musicians – one from Mali, West Africa and two from the United States – that have found common ground in a new and unique sound. Interweaving two continents and three uniquely different musical sensibilities, their cultural and instrumental blend of kamale ngoni (hunter’s harp), six string guitar, percussion, fiddle, mandolin and singing is traditional, innovative and uncommon – all at the same time. Mamajowali overlays West African and Latin American music with old time Americana and spirited originals with hoppin’ high energy grooves and tons of improvisational trialogue. A sound you’ve never heard – “Afromericana!”

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Joe Craven |

Award winning creativity educator, former museum curator, actor, festival emcee, Director of RiverTunes Music Camp and Co-Director of Wintergrass Youth Academy, multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven’s love of performing music has put him in many musical genres and alongside many musicians, from Jerry Garcia, Yo-Yo Ma, David Lindley and Jason Marsalis, to fusion banjoist Alison Brown and groups such as The Persuasions, Psychograss and The Horseflies. For 17 years, he was percussionist/ violinist with mandolinist David Grisman. With presenting workshops and lectures in Costa Rica, to thousands of school kids in Scotland, from house concerts to major festivals and from Carnegie Hall to busking at Cannery Row – Joe’s at home and loving every minute.

“Joe Craven is magical” – San Francisco Chronicle


Mamadou Sidibe |

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 transforming the music of this region from it’s 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 creating 10 and 12 string kamale ngoni. 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 recreation of everyday life into something special, even magical.” – Stylus


Walter Strauss |

Fingerstyle guitarist Walter Strauss’s unique multi-layered style draws on American roots, jazz, classical, and global music traditions. For 15 years, he has delved deep into the music of West Africa, collaborating with well-loved practitioners of the kora (a 21-stringed West African harp) and the kamale ngoni or hunter’s harp. Kora legend and cultural ambassador, Toumani Diabate has described Walter’s unique guitar rendering of the music of the kora as “inspirational”. He is a rare guitarist who can spark a dance floor by himself, and his guitar interpretations of music from other global stringed instruments are showstoppers. Walter performs internationally, and is known for his cross-cultural collaborations. He has teamed up with diverse artists including Grammy-winning Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate, Scottish fiddler Jonny Hardie, and Grammy-nominated American guitarist Alex de Grassi. Recently, he created music for the Ken Burns documentary film “Defying the Nazis.”

“A many-layered, multi-textured, one-man folk festival.” – Maverick Magazine

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