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South African acoustic guitarist Derek Gripper executes kora repertoire brilliantly, and is equally adored by classical guitar aficionados and Malian musicians. His rendering of the kora on a six-string guitar is uncanny, presenting an unbound sensitivity to nuances of the emblematic Malian instrument with staggering technical abilities.

The members of Trio Da Kali (Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, Lassana Diabaté and Mamadou Kouyaté) are outstanding musicians from the Mandé culture of southern Mali, each coming from a long line of distinguished griots. Combining voice, balafon and bass ngoni, the widely-acclaimed trio enlivens and elaborates upon an innately soulful ancient repertoire. Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté is the niece of singer/bandleader Kassé Mady Diabaté, who performed at SMF in 2016, and her powerful voice is often compared to that of Mahalia Jackson. Songlines Magazine writes: “These three brilliant musicians give a new voice to timeless sounds.”