When one professor’s research leads to an incredible experience on campus, the entire community benefits. On Tuesday, April 2, musician Fodé Lassana Diabaté visited Cape Breton University from his home in Mali. The visit was organized by Dr. Marcia Ostashewski, Director of the Centre for Sound Communities at CBU.
“We are deeply grateful to African Nova Scotian Affairs and Support4Culture for their partnership with the Centre for Sound Communities,” says Marcia. “Lassana is thrilled to be spending time in Nova Scotia, sharing his music and culture with local communities.”
Lassana is a virtuoso player of the balafon, a 22-key xylophone. During his visit to Nova Scotia, Lassana has been participating in a series of public performances, school visits and studio recording sessions across Cape Breton as well as in Halifax.
The interactive events are part of the Centre for Sound Communities’ community-based research project, “Songs and Stories in Celebration of the International Decade for People of African Descent.” At the April 2 event, community members were invited to campus to enjoy the music while hearing Lassana’s stories about his culture. Audience members also shared their own experiences and connection to the songs and stories of their unique communities.
Lassana began playing balafon at the age of five, learning from his father, a master balafon player. The talented musician has collaborated with artists across the world in various genres including jazz and Latin music. Lassana was a member of the Grammy-nominated Mali-Cuba collaboration, Afrocubism, and currently leads the group Trio Da Kali. This trio of Malian griot musicians are working to revise forgotten styles of the Mande griot tradition.
We are so grateful that Lassana was able to visit our university!