b. 1959, Faranah, Guinea. Mama Diabaté began her musical career with local band Ensemble Instrumental De Faranah, playing balafon alongside Sona Diabaté. During the 80s she moved to the coastal town of Conakry and became the lead singer of the long-established Horoya Band. She formed her own band in 1991 and recorded her debut cassette, La Biche De Manding, in February 1993. It became a huge hit across West Africa and was released internationally on CD as Koffi Cola Na Yo in 1995. It featured a mix of traditional Manding praise songs and Diabaté’s own compositions, dealing with issues such as polygamy and the treatment of children, all delivered in Diabaté’s deep, raw voice with backing from a small, predominantly electric, band. A follow-up local cassette was less well received and was never given a wider release.
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