For us, for our village, we will never stop. We will play the balafon until the end of the world.
Bassidi and Kalifa Koné are cousins and are of Bwa ethnicity from the San region near Segou in Mali. Born into a musical, Griot (djeli) family, they grew up beside their father’s instrument, the bala (otherwise known as a balafon, a traditional, wooden xylophone), instilling in them their forefather’s traditional village songs and rhythms.
As Griots in their community, (oral keepers of tradition), Bassidi and Kalifa revisit, through their own arrangements and instrumentation, the sound of their elders and ancestors with the greatest respect. They uphold their rich, musical heritage by promoting and preserving rhythms, melodies and songs, which have been passed down through generations, and represent the identity, spirituality, and cultural richness of their Bwa ethnicity.
Upon this traditional, musical base, Bassidi and Kalifa now bring the balafon to new, dynamic realms with innovations and fusions of jazz, blues, funk, and Latin genres.
Bassidi and Kalifa are a dynamic duo who delight audiences with their awe-inspiring musical expression and virtuosity. As ambassadors of their family’s Bobo balafon and their musical heritage, they promote to the world a core family value of theirs, Waseniwai (wu-se-ni-we), which means ‘unity and solidarity through support and acceptance of each other’.