Nfaly Diakite

Born in 1989 in Bamako, Mali, Nfaly Diakité is a member of the Donsow, Bambara animist hunters. Nfaly Diakité is named after his grandfather, the late Nfaly Diakité, one of Mali’s most respected donso chiefs. His grandfather did not play, but as a leading figure in the donso brotherhood, he was always accompanied by musician Yoro Sidibé. Nfaly grew up alongside Yoro Sidibé, who became his first master of the donso ngoni, a type of eight-stringed antelope skin harp. After leaving school to devote himself to his instrument, Nfaly continued his apprenticeship with Diakaria Diakité and Oumar Sidibé, two donso masters from the Wassolo region.

He quickly made a name for himself in the donso community and was much asked to play at the traditional ceremonies of his brotherhood. He then met percussionist Ibrahim Sarr and joined the BKO Quintet, with whom he recorded an album and toured Europe and the United States. His virtuosity on the donso ngoni soon attracted attention, and he took part in numerous music and dance festivals in Mali and abroad, with the aim of raising awareness of this little-known traditional instrument.

Nfaly Diakité is also a Kônô, meaning that he is responsible for passing on the history and culture of the Bambara people through music and song. He pursues his mission by combining tradition with more contemporary sounds and by collaborating with artists from a wide range of musical backgrounds. For him, music is a means of conveying messages of peace, love and harmony, and his compositions evoke the values of respect, tolerance and open-mindedness.

Tribute to Toumani Koné’ is Nfay Diakité’s first solo album, recorded in Bamako in June 2020. On the album, Nfaly is the only singer, providing backing vocals and playing the donso ngoni and keregne. The album is a tribute to the storyteller and poet Toumani Koné, the greatest donso ngoni player since N’gonifo Bourama. Nfaly Diakité is a representative of the new generation of donso ngoni players and he wishes to pay tribute to Toumani Koné, who throughout his long career has been a symbol of courage, daring, loyalty and honesty.