Bassidi Koné is of Bwa ethnicity from the San region in central Mali. Born into a Griot family, Bassidi grew up beside his father’s primary instrument, the balafon, instilling in him his forefathers’ traditional village songs and rhythms passed down through many generations. Since these early childhood experiences, Bassidi has carried on this musical heritage and legacy with the greatest of respect through the study of two percussive instruments, the balafon and the barra (gourd drum).
After moving to Kati at thirteen, Bassidi regularly performed with his father; playing accompaniment on the barra for his father’s balafon. It was at one of these performances that Bassidi met Koninba Bagayogo, a chance meeting that profoundly influenced Bassidi’s musical career as a percussionist. Impressed by Bassidi’s skill playing the barra, Koninba encouraged Bassidi to study djembe. Bassidi became his apprentice and performed with him regularly at weddings and other musical events. Playing alongside this master djembe player, the young Bassidi quickly extended his knowledge and skill.
Throughout his teenage years and early 20’s, Bassidi’s clear resolve and unmatched determination to reach his full potential as a djembe player, caught Mali’s attention. He distinguished himself through his innovative solo lead playing and technical virtuosity at a number of prominent international young talent competitions.
Driven to defend his rich Bwa heritage, Bassidi founded his family-based percussion troupe, Bwazan (Bobo children), in 2005. Most of Bwazan members are from the same line of griots from Bassidis village and surrounding area. Bwazan are recognised as Mali’s leading percussion troupe. They are ambassadors of their musical heritage and promote a message of peace and solidarity throughout Mali and the world.