About Us

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American anthropologist Lisa Feder and Guinean griot balafonist Famoro Dioubaté, the company founders, met in 2006 in New York City. Lisa was doing doctoral fieldwork at Cornell University on griot culture in the diaspora. Famoro was forming his Manding groove band, Kakande. Famoro offered to teach Lisa the balafon and the art of jeliya, the profession of griots and something just clicked. This was the start of their lifelong project together to bring jeliya, the music and culture of the griots from West Africa to the World.  

Since then, Famoro's Kakande consists of dedicated American band members such as Andy Algire, Sean Dixon, Raul Rothblatt, a following of loyal, New York-based fans, and a well-established reputation in New York City. They playregularly at Shrine World Music venue. Lisa, meanwhile, published her book, "Jeliya at the Crossroads" with Palgrave Press (2021) based on her personal experiences working with griots, and about the curious place in which this musical culture sits - at a crossroads between a West African local culture and the world at large. 

Now we work with griots in New York, France, and worldwide.

 

Manding Grooves intends to help bridge this gap between local and global, simultaneously preserving the deep humanity in  Manding culture while translating it to a global audience. 

Manding Grooves began in the United States in 2017, and moved to France, in 2022. 

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