This album is part of a community-engaged research-creation program led collaboratively by the internationally acclaimed musician and virtuoso balafón player Lassana Diabaté and ethnomusicologist Marcia Ostashewski, Director of The Centre for Sound Communities at Cape Breton University.
Since 2014, they have been working together on multiple community-engaged research-creation projects facilitated by partnerships with public libraries, and African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw community leaders and organizations in Cape Breton and Halifax.
These collaborative projects have involved teaching, research, and creative practices that bridge gaps between university and wider community spaces.
On this album, Lassana is accompanied on balafón by Illya Kierkosz, who prefers to describe himself as a vocalist, although he is also a multi-instrumentalist trained as a fiddler, pianist, and drummer. Born in 1997 in Toronto, ON, Illya met Lassana in 2014, on Lassana’s first visit to Cape Breton. Illya began taking lessons on balafón from Lassana and it wasn’t long before his musical abilities enabled him to participate in jam sessions.
Fodé Lassana Diabaté, better known as Lassana Diabaté, is an internationally acclaimed musician, virtuoso balafón (22-key xylophone) player, artist-researcher, composer, culture bearer, and balafón maker, who comes from a well-known griot family of balafón masters in Guinea.