The Best in Acoustic Music Performance

From Mali to America

Cheick Hamala Diabate & Bob Carlin


2008 Grammy Nominee "Best Traditional World Music Album"

Two master music makers -- one from Mali in West Africa, the other from the United States -- join together in a cross-cultural program that creates a musical dialogue between two traditions.

From Mali to America blends the musical traditions of West Africa and America. Since the American banjo grew from Western African roots, this exploration should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that it has taken this long for the ngoni and banjo to join together to explore and illuminate this obscure corner of American musical history.

This collaboration by masters from two musical cultures features a dialogue that blends seamlessly and demonstrates the common roots of their music and instruments. Bob Carlin's masterful banjo playing is incorporated into the traditional Malian ensemble which provides the foundation for Cheick Hamala's improvisations.

From Mali to America features the playing of Cheick Hamala on ngoni, guitar, left-handed banjos made by Pete Ross and Gold Tone tuned like the Malian Griot lute. Bob Carlin plays a gourd banjo made by Pete Ross/Jubilee Banjo; a minstrel banjo made by George Wunderlich/Wunder Banjo Company; and a Gold Tone BC-350 Bob Carlin model banjo. Special guest Solo Tounkara plays guitar on five tracks.

Track Listing