Driving collective polyrhythms, blazing frontline horns, and virtuosic kora stylings collide as traditional West African music meets jazz.

Balimaya Project uses the repertoire and instrumentation of the Mandé peoples of Senegal and Mali as the bridge to bring the folkloric West African music together with jazz and the sounds of Black London. Led by composer/arranger and leading UK-based Djembe player, Yahael Camara Onono, Balimaya Project creates unique and exciting music that seeks to reclaim their ancestral culture and music and the fast-rising band have made quite an impression at home and abroad!

The word “Balimaya” comes from the Maninka language and means the essence of kinship. In Mandé society, the ideology of kinship is engrained in the moral fabric of its people. Family ties aren’t limited to blood relations. The concept of extended family created by marriage, cousinage, shared history within ethnicities and deeds done for one another is complex but adhered to with great pride. This extended family model is what inspires Balimaya Project’s repertoire and mission: to show that even though they were, for the most part, born in inner city London, their roots have not been forgotten and they have been innovative in their approach to reconnecting with traditional Mandé music and culture.

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