Balimaya Project’s stirring new single is out today – taken from forthcoming album ‘Wolo So’ – the London collective fuse West-African rhythms and the capital’s renowned jazz-wise vibes

With a kora and a balon right at the fore of new single Balimaya, this emerging colective from London combine driving polyrhythms, horns on fire and contemporary jazz – meet the 16-piece supergroup, Balimaya Project. Their virtuosic kora stylings on this dynamic meeting of traditional Mandé music and culture are led by composer, arranger and leading UK-based Djembe player, Yahael Camara Onono – and featuring members of bands including Kokoroko and Seed Ensemble.

The single Balimaya is out now, the album Wolo Solo is out on July 30th, both on Jazz re:freshed.

Onono says: “Balimaya (thé essence of kinship) is based on the traditional piece Salia that is very popular in the region, but our unique take on the folklore takes it to a new level, this track simple serves as introduction to who we are, a unit and because of that unity and cohesion, we are a force to reckoned with.”

“The size of the band is important. I wanted a fuller sound and the traditional music calls for this many instruments…we are mainly young black men from London or the UK. Coming together, being emotionally available as young black men in the diaspora is just not celebrated enough. We all rely on each other. I wanted to create a space with people from the same perspective, culturally but also with people that have their ear on the ground when it comes to black Britain and music from the continent.”

Previous single Soninka/Patronba unveiled the band at the start of June:

Balimaya Project are:

Yahael Camara Onono – Lead Djembe/Arranger/Composer/Voice/Sangban
N’famady Kouyaté – Balafon/Sangban/Voice
Jali Bakary Konte – Kora
Skanda Sabbagh – Dounoun
Adeegun Crispin Robinson – Congas/Voice
Paul Goumou – Omele/Shekere/Sakara
Michael Adesina – Lead Talking Drums/Sakara
Moses Olukayode – Talking Drums/Sakara
Yohan Kebede – Keys
Godwin Sonzi – Guitar/Voice
Jonathan Monga Moko – Bass/Voice
Nathaniel Cross – Trombone
Joe Bristow – Trombone
Elias Ntiamoah Atkinson – Flugelhorn/Trumpet
Ife Ogunjobi – Trumpet
Triston Dubison – Kit
Mariam Tounkara Koné – Solo Vocal

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