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The AROUNA DIARRA TRIO Appearing Thur Aug 6th 2015 at 7:30pm

$10 in advance
$12 at the door

Arouna Diarra (ngoni, balafon, vocals), 
Patrick Fitzsimons (bass, nylon-string guitar), & 
Aaron Kaczmarek (acoustic guitar) 
for an intimate evening of 
West African string music.

A griot from the Mandingue culture of West Africa, Arouna Diarra is an accomplished n’goni & balafon player. Performing a tradition of folk songs reflecting topics from war to love for one another, Arouna sings with spirit, nostalgia, and great joy, in his native language, Bambara.

Arouna was born in Bobo-Dioulasso, the cultural capital of Burkina Faso. Diarra is a family name associated with the griot. In West African culture, griots are curators of the arts and of history. Their families, like Arouna’s, are composed of musicians, poets, and storytellers. Arouna was destined to bring traditional music into the modern day, further developing it while remaining true to it’s roots.

Performing styles such as Wassalou, Arouna brings a dynamic repertoire to the table, full of timing changes and improvisational prowess. He plays the kamel n’goni - a 14-string harp-like instrument - with a melodic and percussive sensibility. In fact, Arouna makes his instruments himself, both for performing and for teaching his students.

Before making his home in Asheville, North Carolina, Arouna was a key member of internationally-touring group, Lanaya. He is a founding member of NC-based, West African folk music ensemble, Mandé Foly.

Guitarist, Aaron “Kaz” Kaczmarek, pursued a passion for world music traditions from an early start. On a journey that started in India, Aaron has spent over a decade assimilating folk and art music from Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, and Latin-American cultures to become a genuine musical polyglot. Aaron also leads the group, Sankofa Electrofolk, in Asheville, NC.

Multi-instrumentalist, Patrick Fitzsimons, has been studying music of the African diaspora for over twenty years. Beginning as a percussionist and later moving his emphasis to the guitar, Patrick is currently immersing himself in the Mandingue music of West Africa. He has also studied Cuban music, modern African styles including Zouglou and Soukous, mbira music of Zimbabwe, among others. Patrick performs with afropop group, Zansa, as well as Mande Foly. Arouna and Patrick have recently produced an album together, Benkadi, which will be available at the performance at White Horse.

The album, Benkadi, a word in Bambara which means, "unity", features Arouna's performance on the kamel ngoni, balafon - a mallet instrument related to the xylophone - and lead vocals, while Patrick offers accompaniment through acoustic, electric, and bass guitars. They each have their hand in backup vocals and accompanying percussion: calebasse, dunun, djembe, and shékeré, amongst other instruments. Preview it at:

At their performance at White Horse, the trio will perform songs as well as describe the instruments Arouna is playing, explain song meanings & origins, and provide additional insight into West African culture.