Balla was born in another village while his mother was travelling. The chief of this village said the newborn should be named Balla, after himself.
That is how Balla was given the name of his ancestor, Balla Fasseke Kouyate, the first Djeli of the Mande Empire and the owner of the very, first balafon. To this day the 800 year-old instrument remains in his family, guarded by his father, El Haji Sekou Kouyate, the Sosso Balatigui.
SABABU means reason, purpose, ancient secret or magic in Balla's native, Mandinka language. As he was named, Balla was destined to play this ancient instrument and believes it is his purpose to share his balafon music with the world.
Balla Kouyate -
solo & accompaniment balafons, bass guitar, calabash
Sekou "Pablo" Dembele - djembe
Rick DePofi - soprano saxophone, shakere
Patricia Tang - violin
Noah Jarrett - upright bass
Buy it now and feel the magic!
1. Balla Foli Ke
Playing the balafon is my destiny
2. Ma Ya Ye Hakili Ye
Everything in moderation
3. Kouyate Fasa
Hommage to the Kouyates
4. Chan Chan
My version of the Buena Vista Social Club song
5. Allah La Ke
God created everything
6. Filen Kolon Balani
The Broken Gourd balafon song
7. All Blues - Bamako to Boston
Balla's creation mixes Miles Davis, a classic US song and a Mande song meaning no one can change your destiny