Salif Kone


Available to Community

Salif Kone is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and teacher from the Griot (Djelia) tradition of West Africa. Griots have been historically known as the oral libraries, passing along the rich stories of African ancestry through music and song. At the age of twelve, Salif joined Maison des Juenes du Burkina Faso, a youth music ensemble that toured throughout Africa and Europe. He then joined the National Ballet of Burkina Faso. In the U.S., he has taught children and adults of all ages for fifteen years. He established Djelia Rhythms to bring the culture and musical traditions of his family to students and audiences nationwide. Salif’s teaching style promotes self-development, cultural awareness, and unity while building the foundation for music technique.

The film Great Great Great Grandparents’ Music documents the music and lives of his family in West Africa over the span of two decades. The documentary received the Prix Special at FESPACO, the largest Black film festival in the world, and was nominated for “Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles Pan-African Film Festival. The film is available for school/group viewings.


phone: 831-421-1976

Djelia Rhythms

Salif leads the students in a comprehensive study of African drumming that includes the history, construction, and cultural significance of the djembe drum. Students learn the basic music principles and notes of the djembe: base, tone, and open slap. They are guided through the techniques of hand placement on the drum, pitch, and combining notes to form a rhythm. In addition to learning basic arrangements of the rhythms and their meanings, students will also be exposed to the sound of more traditional arrangements integrating singing, guitar, and kora (21-string African harp).

Workshop lessons can adapted to age, level, and school curriculum.
Required: Multipurpose room, chairs
Instruments will be provided (Instrument rental fee: $250/day)
After-school availability
Hourly fee: $80

Additional workshops: Guitar, Storytelling, Bala (Xylophone/Marimba), Song
Please contact Salif for more information regarding these workshops.


Solo Performance: Salif performs traditional songs using kora, guitar, djembe, and bala. He sings the songs of the Mali Empire and the Bwaba, Bambara, and Moore people, in addition to original compositions inspired by his ancestry.

Solo Performance Fee: $800 (1 hour)

Group Performance: Members of Salif’s group, Ninkadi, provide a full African family experience, complete with a full ensemble of musicians, dancers, and singers. The group presents the traditional songs and dances passed down generation to generation for centuries. Complete with authentic traditional costumes and audience participation, the performance brings the sights, sounds, and flavor of Africa!

Group Performance Fee: $1,600
Additional Consecutive Performances: $400/additional performance