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B a l a f o n W o r k s h o p s

Manding Grooves organizes Balafon Workshops year-round in France, the US, and in West Africa. We use a particular mixed Africa-Western pedagogy developed by Lisa Feder and Famoro Dioubate. 

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Two World-Class Griots, Two Opportunities.

The Summer Workshop 2024

In Séderon, La Drôme, France from August 3-10.

Reserve your place NOW! Spaces are limited.


 Kanazoe Diabaté -- Burkina Faso / Famoro Dioubate -- Guinea 


Kanazoe Diabate leads this balafon workshop with rhythms from the Manding people on the diatonic balafon. He also specializes in the pentatonic melodies from his cultural group, the Semla people from Tolonso, Burkina Faso. 


Famoro Dioubaté is special guest teacher this year. Hailing from Guinea-Conakry and based in New York, Famoro has safeguarded the traditional style of his grandfather, El Hadj Djeli Sory Dioubaté.  

Participants will start each day, listening quietly to the music from these two masters. Then, Kanazoe will lead the intermediate and advanced players in two hours of intensive balafon class while Famoro works with the beginner-intermediate level players. 


We pause for lunch and free time for several hours. Take a walk, visit the local swimming pool, or take it easy at our gîte, our home for the week. For the balafon ambitious, both teachers will be available for private and small group lessons - particularly for the advanced players who want to maximize their learning experience. 

Later in the afternoon, we re-group with our respective teachers to practice what we learned earlier that day as an ensemble.


The practice session will lead into the Musical Cocktail Hour when balafon enthusiasts can continue playing. Tired of the balafon? You can play other instruments like the doundouns, djembes, bells, and if you bring them: bass, flute, guitar, etc. It's also a chance to dance, listen, paint, and be free!

Manding Grooves Pedagogy: More than just a music lesson

Learning balafon the West African way comprises a system of education indigenous to Manding culture. Famoro Dioubaté from Guinea and Kanazoe Diabaté from Burkina Faso, two of our teachers, began their apprenticeship at the age of 7. Rather than concentrating on schoolwork, they concentrated on learning balafon. This is how they developed their humanity. It is very rare for Europeans to learn in this style. In Manding Grooves workshops, we blend African and European styles of learning. Classes are combined with village-style learning during which time the teachers transmit values and qualities such as patience, concentration, coordination, grace, listening, respect, and a sense of community. These are values that we can integrate into our daily lives. With the assistance of Lisa Feder and other experienced individuals, we have the opportunity to explore and practice the rich spiritual culture of the jelis (or griots) around different themes.

Lisa Feder is an American anthropologist specializing in the study of jeli culture as an educational system. Author of the book "Jeliya at the Crossroads," soon to be translated into French, she has studied under Famoro Dioubaté and other jelis since 2000. Based in France since 2015, she co-founded Manding Grooves with Famoro Dioubaté to support jélis in their journeys in Europe and the United States. She believes in the power of music to bring people together beyond borders. She believes in the ancient system of apprenticeship and oral transmission as a path for developing well-balanced human beings. She is also a spiritual practitioner, primarily in Buddhism. For Lisa Feder, jeliya, human development, and spirituality are inseparable. The Manding Grooves pedagogy is based on over 20 years of anthropological research and practice. 

Memories from previous Balafon Workshops with Kanazoe Diabate. 
2023, Sederon, France  :  March 2023 et October 2022, Le Beausset, France. :  March 2019 Marseille


For more information and to sign up for balafon workshops, send an email to us

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