Mahamadou Diabate in Kirina
'My name is Mahamadou Diabaté. I'm a percussionist from Bamako, Mali. Here our stories, poetry, history and music are passed from one generation to the next through a caste of storytellers and musicians known as Griots. The role of the Griot is to connect the people in the society and they help us learn and remember our history and traditions.
Through a remarkable sequence of little miracles, our friends from the Playing For Change Foundation became our partners in building a new Music School, École De Musique de Kirina, in the only Griot village in Mali—Kirina.
The school is open and now we have 350 new students! We teach kora, djembe, balafone and voice. We have a workshop to teach kids how to build and repair traditional instruments and many of the instruments used in the school are made locally.
The music school is giving rise to new hopes and dreams—dreams of preserving our culture and of people coming to Kirina from other places, with all of us discovering and sharing the treasures that are here. Thank you for helping these dreams come to life and for supporting our music school, which for us is like rain in the desert. The music the children play fills us like sunbeams through the storm clouds.'
This time of year is marked by many traditions. All of them have a sound track—the music we love that connects us to memories, to celebrations, and to others around the world. As you enjoy this season and listen to or play or sing a favorite song, please remember that your generosity has given a similar gift of music to children in Mali. They will have new memories and learn timeless traditions because you said YES.