The Cheick Hamala Diabate Foundation


The Cheick Hamala Diabaté Foundation is a vehicle to establish, maintain and grow performing arts in Mali. It focuses on providing instruction on music to local Malian children. Students will learn to build and play traditional Malian instruments as well as western-style instruments.

The Project

Since 1995, Malian musician Cheick Hamala Diabeté has lived in the United States. He has traveled the world sharing his wisdom, spirit, and good will through his music. He has played with legendary American musicians such as Bela Fleck, Corey Harris and Bob Carlin with whom he partnered on the Grammy nominated “From Mali to America” (Best Traditional World Music Album, 2007). 

Cheick is also a griot (a member of an 800-year tradition of traveling advisers, storytellers, poets, musicians and oral historians) counseling African presidents, Malian villagers, and members of the U.S. Congress. Cheick is a bridge between the Malian people and their leaders and between the United States and Mali. He is in a unique position to engage and influence many people and organizations to improve the lives of women and children in Mali. To assist him in this effort, Cheick has asked Washington based international trade economist Mark Haney and multi-media producer Gail Prensky to work with him in realizing his Call to Action for Mali. 

"If music has the power to inspire, transcend and unite, I can think of no one who better exemplifies this. Cheick has a dream of being able to share his wealth of knowledge with the children of Mali. This project is the fulfillment of that dream; a dream to which I am humbled to be a part."
Gerald Billes, AIA