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© Linda Hirsch 2003
Moussa Traoré was born and raised in Mali, West Africa. Moussa has been playing the djembe for the past thirty years. In 1984, after completing a twelve-year apprenticeship, he was deemed a “master” by his teacher, Sega Cissé.
From 1984 to 1990, when the competition ended,
selected every time to represent the region of Bamako in Le Biennal, the national competition of artists
from every region in Mali. Each
competition, Moussa led his group to win the highest honors.
Moussa has achieved great recognition throughout Mali as an
accomplished musician in the theater, in traditional ceremonies as well
the Malian pop music scene. Moussa performs the rhythms of a
number of Mali’s ethnic
groups including: the Bambara, Malinké, Dogon, Bobo, Bozo,
Soninké and Khasonké. Among musicians
in Bamako, Moussa is considered to be one of the top djembe players in
played jembe on the albums of
more Malian pop artists than any other djembefola
in Mali. He has recorded
artists as: Djénéba Seck, Molobaly Traoré, Za
Yousouf, Nanou Coulibaly, Sabou
Dorunté, and Soumaila Diallo.In the U.S., Moussa has made guest
appearances with Malian singer Oumou Sangare, as well as blues legend, Taj Mahal and his group Kulanjan as part of the Africa Fete tour.
In addition to his extensive performance and recording career, Moussa has established himself as an internationally respected teacher. In 1998, he was invited to France by La Nef des Musiques, a nonprofit organization endorsed by the French Minister of Culture that provides arts in public schools. Moussa worked as an “artist in residence” in schools in the south of France teaching students the traditional music of Mali. His teaching experience has also included working with several European apprentices who have studied djembe, dundun and drum-making with him in Bamako, Mali over the past ten years.
Since moving to the U.S. in
1998, Moussa has given drum
workshops in cities throughout the U.S. including: Oakland, CA,
Palo Alto, CA, Philadelphia, PA, Denver, CO, Detroit, MI, Salt
Lake City, UT, and Saint Louis, MO. Moussa has
also taught and performed at several colleges including Brown
University, the Rhode
Island School of Design, Connecticut College, and UC San Diego. Currently, he is
teaching after school programs at several schools in the area, teaching
weekly community classes, and advanced drum classes.