Balafon Teacher

École De Musique de Kirina – Mali

Oumar Dembélé was born in 1986, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He grew up in a family deeply rooted in music, spanning generations from grandfather to grandsons. In 1998, he had to leave school due to a serious illness that persisted for two years. Being part of a Balafon family, Oumar chose to fully embrace music instead of pursuing a traditional education.

His journey in music faced challenges, as his illness led to a lack of encouragement from those around him. Despite the difficulties, Oumar overcame obstacles and collaborated with various musicians, including Mamadou Dembélé, known for the pentatonic balafon, Doussou Bagayoko, the daughter of Nahawa Doumbia, Madina N’diaye, a blind female Kora player, and Maïmouna Dembele, another female singer.

In November 2016, Oumar Dembélé established his own band and participated in several festivals in Bamako, such as Festival Ogobagna (the Dogon festival), Festival Rendez-vous chez nous à Bamako, Festival Fassaye Sogo, Festival Didadi de Bougouni, Festival Agna de Koulikoro, Festival Sur le Niger de Segou, Festival Triangle de Balafon in Sikasso, Festi Cauri in Siby, and Festival Ali Farka Toure in Niafounke.

Currently, he is actively working on an album consisting of 11 tracks, scheduled for release soon. Oumar Dembélé became involved with the PFCF program in 2023 through Tiemoko Dagnon, the N’goni teacher at Ecole de Musique de Kirina.