Balla Kouyate visits students at the National Folk Festival as part of World Culture in Context

Folklorist Brooks Long moderates a World Culture in Context program with Balla Kouyate

We went LIVE… Virtually!  We partnered with our good friends at the NCTA and the Maryland Folk Festival to bring NEA National Heritage Fellowship winner Balla Kouyate to remotely visit with Salisbury, Maryland, public school students prior to the festival through our World Culture in Context program.  Keeper of an unbroken 800-year lineage of West African oral historians and musicians known as djeli, Kouyate is a master of the balafon, the predecessor to the xylophone.

Students had the unique opportunity to visit with a master musician and oral historian sharing his tradition imbued by the wisdom of hundreds of generations of ancestors. 

Joined by folklorist and musician Brooks Long, Balla’s artistry and stories reached more than 900 in this small city and surrounding rural area located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.