Join this exciting annual fundraiser for the Atlas–Washington DC’s contemporary, cutting-edge performing arts center. The evening is an exhilarating combination of performances, dining, dancing, and celebrating the finest artistic expression. Party back stage, on-stage, and in other spaces rarely seen by audiences! Cheick Hamala Diabate, Grammy-nominated griot from Mali, rocks the traditional n’goni (the West African plucked lute) with a blend of traditional and contemporary sound. Steve Smith will be holding down the rhythm section with drums and percussion.
Cheick Hamala Diabate was born into a griot family in Kita, Mali. In West African tradition, the griot is a male troubadour-historian whose hereditary role is to preserve and share the history, genealogy, and oral traditions of his people, in addition to providing advice and practicing diplomacy. As a child, Diabate learned to play the n’goni, a stringed instrument which is the precursor to the American banjo. His knowledge grew to include the history of Mali, passed down in his family for more than 800 years. Though Diabate plays the traditional trio of griot instruments—the n’goni, kora (gourd harp lute), and balafon (wooden xylophone)—he also embraces the panoply of sound he discovered in America. Like many American string players, including Béla Fleck, with whom Diabate has collaborated and performed, Diabate was intrigued by the similarities between the n’goni and the banjo. Seeking to mesh the sounds of the two instruments, Diabate collaborated with banjo player Bob Carlin on From Mali to America, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Albumin 2007. While many American musicians have traveled to West Africa or picked up the n’goni—thanks in part to Diabate’s introductions and instruction—few African musicians have engaged the banjo the way Diabate has.
Fall Festival featuring Cheick Hamala Diabate and some other fantastic bands and artists.
Miss Guinea North America is brought to you by NIMBA Entertainment Inc., under the leadership of its founder and president Hawa Barry -Diallo a former supermodel from Guinea. The pageant was created to help young Guinean women in the US pursue their educational dreams, achieve personal growth, rediscover and take pride in their Guinean heritage, thus laying a strong foundation for them as future leaders of the Republic of Guinea. Cheick Hamala Diabate and the Griot Street Band will be performing as part of tonight's entertainment.
Art On 8th. Cheick is a West African historian in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S.in 1995. His performances have been featured at such notable venues as The Smithsonian Institute, and the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts. Cheick Hamala has successfully fused the traditional rhythms and vocals of his ancestors with the more electric, American sounds he has absorbed over the past decade living in the US.
Sounds Like: Official Mr Scruff, Tosca, Kruder & Dorfmeister, The Cinematic Orchestra
Label: Stonerock Inc.
Bio: Native Washingtonian Stevan Smith is one of DC's most talented drummers, and has emerged as a talented songwriter as well. Born with a great love for music, a keen sense of rhythm, and a desire to beat on anything that made noise, it was noticed at an early age that Steve was going to play drums....See Full Bio