Born in central Mali to a Griot family, Bassidi Koné’s earliest memories of playing his father’s balafon, a gourd-resonated xylophone, have inspired a lifelong dedication to promoting peace and solidarity through his musical legacy. His family-based troupe, Bwazan –– which translates to ‘Bobo children’ –– is one of Mali’s best percussion and dance ensembles. Formed in 2005, the members of Bwazan are all brothers, sisters, uncles, and cousins from the same family line. Defending his rich Bwa heritage through music and dance is Koné’s legacy.
Koné moved to Kati, Bamako, at 13 to perform with his father, accompanying his balafon on the barra. When master djembefola Koninba Bagayogo watched one of these performances, he invited Koné to be his djembe apprentice. The two performed together at weddings, christenings, and other ceremonies for the next few years, allowing Koné to distinguish himself as an innovative soloist and technical percussionist.
Now based in Australia, Koné has collaborated with many Queensland groups and organizations, as well as internationally. In 2014, he went on a national tour with Koné Express, a 9-piece Afro-Jazz ensemble that received funding from the Australia Council to make the tour possible. He has also collaborated with The Meander Project, a performance with students from the Australian National Academy of Music, and later the Asanti Dance Theatre with the Afro-contemporary dance group, Sankofa. He’s also performed at prestigious conventions and festivals such as the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC16), the Desert Song Festival, and Splendor in the Grass.
Today, Koné performs with Highlife, an Australia-based band, and tours internationally and records with notable musicians like Nainy Diabate, Nafi Diabate, Mah Kouyate No. 1, and Bassekou Kouyaté.