Kassé Mady Diabaté comes from the most famous family of griots in the land of the Manding: the Diabaté’s of Kéla. Since the mid-1960s, Diabaté’s voice has been prized by all the cutting-edge orchestras that came into being in the wake of Malian independence. Whether it was with Orchestre Régional Super Mandé de Kangaba or Las Maravillas de Mali (later known as Badema National) or with the National Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and the world music fusions that came later, Diabaté has played a key role in the most innovative moments in Malian music. Many of his recordings have become landmarks. In recent years, he has returned to a more traditional sound, enlisting the extensive talents of kora master Ballaké Sissoko, ngoni player Makan Tounkara, and balaphon great Lansiné Kouyaté, who will be featured in these concerts.
Robert Sadin thrilled audiences in his two previous projects at SMF, both of which received standing ovations. His 2011 collaboration with Lionel Loueke was a stirring program built around the many talents of the Benin-born guitarist-singer-composer. In the 2013 concerts showcasing clarinet virtuoso Patrick Messina, Sadin threaded Sicilian and Moroccan folk music traditions with brilliant arrangements for his seven piece ensemble. His 2016 creation promises to be another original suite of works showcasing a collection of musicians from around the globe including trumpeter Etienne Charles (Trinidad), percussion wizard Cyro Baptista (Brazil), violinist Mark Feldman and cellist Erik Friedlander (NYC), bassist Ira Coleman (Sweden) and clarinetist Patrick Messina (France).