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Naby Camara, Master Musician from West Africa

Naby Camara, Griot from Guinea

Naby comes from a lineage of persons known in West Africa as griots (pronounced gree'-oh.) Besides being superlative musicians, griots are verbal artisans, oral historians, and the guardians of centuries-old traditions. Naby is a griot, as are his brothers, their father before them, his father before him, and so on. Thus, in addition to being trained as a master musician, Naby also knows the stories and histories of his people. He is a walking treasure of talent, but of knowledge as well.

Two-Time Juno Award Winner

Naby Camara, master balafola (balafon player) from Guinea, West Africa, is a two-time recipient (1995 and 2004) of the Juno Award for best Global Album. The Juno Award is Canada's equivalent to America's Grammy. It is one of the highest achievement awards given for music in Canada.

Naby Camara CDs

The album Lagni-Sussu Kanteli (2007) features Naby's globally-acclaimed mastery of the balafon and is available through Bandcamp. Cost: $10.

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L'Union fait la force (or, "Unity Makes Strength") (2004) is available through CDBaby. Cost: $15.

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Instructional DVDs Available!

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Naby's instructional DVDs are a great way to get started on the balafon, but they're also a great way to get a little closer to your griot, even if he's as far away as Seattle and you're living in . . . Veracruz? Tokyo? Halifax? Antwerp?

Balaphone Instruction Vol. 1

This volume is perfect for beginners, and includes accompaniment patterns for eight well-known balafon pieces: Soli, Mane, Lasidan, Yankadi, Lamban, Guinea Fare, Sorsorne, and Kebendo.

Balaphone Instruction Vol. 2

This volume features many of the same pieces as Vol. 1 but takes them much further. Naby shows Kebendo, Lasidan, Mane, and Yankadi patterns that are more complex and advanced, and he also includes basic and solo patterns for two additional pieces: Cette Vie, and Sehuluse.

Cost: $25 each, plus shipping. (Vol. 1 transcriptions also available for $20. Vol. 2 transcriptions will be available soon.) To order, see contact information below.


Naby has two email addresses. His personal account (for performance bookings and other information) is

To order DVDs and/or transcriptions, write to