Watch the villagers of Kirina, Mali, build their new music school with the support of the Playing For Change Foundation.

Our friend Mahamadou Diabate— brother of famed Kora player Toumani Diabate, and a wonderful musician in his own right– approached the Playing For Change Foundation about building a music school in his native country of Mali. Thanks to his help and guidance, PFCF broke ground on its third music school on the African continent this year: Ecole de Musique de Kirina (Music School of Kirina). The school is located in the village of Kirina, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Mali’s capital city, Bamako.

Kirina is a Griot village without any electricity, where the inhabitants live in humble straw roofed houses made of bricks that have dried in the sun's heat. The Griots play an essential role in Malian culture: they are the keepers of oral history and traditions, passing them on through music and poetry. The school will help the people of Kirina preserve and share their musical traditions, which have been slowly disappearing due to lack of teaching resources.

The school opened its doors in October of 2010, and now offers classes in kora, djembe, balafon, and voice, as well as a workshop to teach the building and repair of traditional instruments.

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