“With music you speak to people, you touch their hearts and bring them joy”.

Bassidi Koné


Mali, West Africa

Bassidi Koné is of Bwa ethnicity and was born into a Griot family in the San region of central Mali. His earliest memories are of growing up beside his father’s primary instrument, the balafon (a gourd-resonated xylophone), which instilled in him his forefathers’ traditional village songs and rhythms passed down through many generations. Since these early childhood experiences, Bassidi carried on this rich musical heritage and legacy with the greatest of respect through the study of the balafon and barra (gourd drum).

After moving to Kati, Bamako, at thirteen, Bassidi regularly performed with his father; playing accompaniment on the barra for his father’s balafon. It was at one of these performances that Bassidi met Koninba Bagayogo, a chance meeting that profoundly influenced Bassidi’s musical career as a percussionist. Impressed by Bassidi’s skill playing the barra, Koninba invited Bassidito to become his apprentice on the djembe (hand drum). Playing alongside this master djembe player, the young Bassidi quickly extended his knowledge and skill.

Throughout his teenage years and early 20’s, Bassidi’s clear resolve and unmatched determination to reach his full potential as a djembe player, caught Mali’s attention. He distinguished himself through his innovative solo lead playing and technical virtuosity at a number of prominent international young talent competitions.

Defending his rich Bwa heritage, Bassidi founded his family-based percussion troupe, Bwazan (Bobo children), in 2005. Bwazan is recognised as one of Mali’s leading percussion groups. Ambassadors of their musical heritage, they promote a message of peace and solidarity throughout the world. More information about Bwazan can be found at

Beyond Mali

“Traveling from his culturally rich and vibrant homeland of Mali (West Africa), following in the footsteps of great artists before him such as Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Toumani Diabaté and Rokia Traoré, virtuoso drummer and balafonist Bassidi Koné now brings his shining spirit and awe inspiring musical expression to Australia”.

Multicultural Arts Victoria
Melbourne, Australia

Bassidi tours internationally and is passionate about sharing his traditional Griot music and culture. He enjoys collaborating with diverse ensemble groups, delving into Afro-jazz, latin, reggae, classical and contemporary genres. Bassidi skillfully infuses these genres with the heritage of his family’s music tradition.

Bassidi has been involved in a number of milestone performances around the world. The Meander Project (Australia), was a unique musical collaboration between Multicultural Arts Victoria and Fellow students from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). In Australia, Bassidi also collaborated with Koné Express, a 9-piece Afro-Jazz ensemble, who received funding from the Australia Council for an Australian national tour. In November 2016, Bassidi was honoured to bring a Malian voice to the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC16), in Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A, presenting the djembe and balafon in two solo performances, which received standing ovations. In September 2018, Bassidi participated in unique collaborations with the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, which culminated in the finale  showcase performance at the 2018 Desert Song Festival in Central Australia. In 2019, Bassidi and Queensland-based ‘Afro-psych’ band, Highlife, took to the stage at one of Australia’s largest music festivals, Splendor in the Grass.

Bassidi currently performs with Queensland-based band, Highlife. He is also very honoured to be representing Mali as a OneBeat 2020 Fellow in the USA, rescheduled for 2021.


International Performances and Collaborations

Desert Song Festival
Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir (finale showcase performance)
Central Australia (2018)

Splendor in the Grass Festival
Highlife Band
Queensland, Australia (2019)

Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC16)
Solo performance on djembe and balafon
Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A. (2016)

Koné Express Australian Tour
Australia (May-June 2014)

The Meander Project
Multicultural Arts Victoria and Fellow Students at the Australian National Academy of Music
Melbourne, Australia (2013)

An afro-contemporary work with Asanti Dance Theatre
Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne (2012)

© Feature photo (top) courtesy of Michael McCann

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