“The huge spiritual world that music produces in itself, ends up overcoming material poverty. From the minute a child’s taught how to play an instrument, he’s no longer poor. He becomes a child in progress, heading for a professional level, who’ll later become a citizen.” -Dr. Jose Abreau

We are happy to report that all the girls in the instruments4africa program are enrolled in school as well as participating in the after school programs.  Our goal now is to improve the quality of their education by enrolling them into a well-rounded, academically driven school where we can work with the teachers.  They will benefit by all attending the same school and it will be easier to stay on top of their progress.  We have located the best school in the neighborhood of Sabalybougou and now it is time to raise the funds to get the girls enrolled there.

ready to learn!

On November 14, 2009, instruments4africa was invited by the mayor to a meeting of high officials for ‘Commune 5’…this is the community we work in.

Everyone agreed that no matter how impoverished the community is, Mali’s  best resource is its rich culture and this must be handed down to our young people. With city officials behind the program, we hope to increase awareness, create stability and be able to serve more children in need.

With the recent support of friends in the USA, we have established an emergency medical fund and can get malaria meds to kids before the situation gets dangerous.
Big thank you to our donors!

The yoga program is taking shape and we will soon be including the greater community into the yoga classes. In these conditions, the benefits are basic…the yoga practice helps strengthen the immune system and helps people sleep better.

Paul Chandler (instruments4africa) & Mayor Commune 5, Karim Togola

The girls dance troupe performed for UN Day at the American International School.  It was a huge success!  We are proud to say all the girls are enrolled in school and doing well.  They are receiving after-school mentoring and training in traditional dance and song.  The English lessons with the student volunteers from the American School are coming along splendidly.  Tama is starting yoga sessions with the girls and we hope to add some other teachers soon to teach classical dance forms.

We are currently seeking donations to purchase mosquito nets and start and emergency medical fund for malaria meds.  Please check us out on facebook to donate…under the cause “create an opportunity for a child in West Africa.”

girls dance troupe & director Lassy Kone

The instruments4africa dance troupe is going strong, led by Artistic director, Lassy Kone and executive director, Tama Walley.  We have an amazing group of 22 talented young people participating in the program for the 2009-2010 academic year.   The group meets three times weekly after school to train in the traditional music, songs and dances of Mali.

We are also very excited about the weekly English lessons provided by student volunteers from the American International  School of Bamako.  The exchange between the foreign students and the Malian students is fantastic.  Everyone involved continues to be uplifted by the experience.

The young people of the instruments4africa troupe are already being recognized by their peers as leaders in the community.  We have faith this program will give them the confidence and tools they need to help build a more sustainable future.

Soon we will be adding a ‘community health’ component to our program.  This will empower our young leaders to pass on vital lessons to help prevent malaria and other diseases and promote general sanitation.


Click on nteri22 above to listen. This song Nteri is a collaboration between Malian artists and American sound engineer and musician James Henderson of Juniper Studio in Dallas Texas. Instruments4africa helps connect artists from Africa with music professionals from around the globe. Enjoy!


Mah Soumano is a rising star in Mali.  Her first international release will be in 2009. Produced by Paul Chandler, Mah sings about the difficulties of life in Africa and the strong will and determination that is necessary to succeed.  Mah is one of the local champions for Instruments4africa.

Konan kuassi sound engineer at studio mali in Bamako has been recording artists for the last twenty years. He frequently gives workshops to artists on how to prepare for studio sessions.

Instruments4Africa(I4A)facilitates professional development in live sound and recording technology.  We are partnering with the Malian Ministry of Culture to train artists in preparing albums for studio recording.   Experienced musical arrangers and technicians will teach artists with minimal studio experience.   Collaborating with local studio engineers, we hold workshops and provide mentoring to aspiring sound technicians and studio engineers.  We organize trainings with industry professionals from around the world who wish to come share and exchange their knowledge and experience with music professionals here in Mali and West Africa.  Mali is a politically stable country and the people are naturally tolerant, inclusive, and joyful.

For people who are interested in traditional music, West Africa is a paradise.  The diversity is astonishing.  While I4A is committed to the preservation of traditional culture, we also recognize the importance of African artists being able to compete in the modern world.  Most Malian musicians do not have access to quality, modern instruments, sound equipment or the training to use them to their full potential.  Your donations will reach the artists, music professionals, and studios with the greatest potential to benefit from this hand up. 

Children in the village of Garana
Children in the village of Garana

Instruments4Africa empowers young people with quality education and training.  I4A is in the process of forming a children’s performance troupe. From the pool of students in our apprenticeship program, we can begin to choose individuals who show an exceptional capacity in music/dance/theatre and the arts in general. These children will be chosen from applicant families, in impoverished and low income areas, who will support their children on the artist’s path.

The students will be sponsored with scholarships to attend already existing schools where they will receive a quality education in their local language as well as English and French language training. English and French training is important to provide them with the ability to present their culture and point of view to the world.  After their formal school day, they will return to the community center for music and dance classes which are also connected to the mentoring program.

Our strategy is to start with a small number of boys and girls (6) in the second or third grades, and then each year add a new group to the lowest level until we have a group that ranges all the way from 3rd grade to high school. As these students will be coming from mostly illiterate families, it is important to begin in the lower grades as there will be little to no academic support in the home.

To begin our pilot program we have targeted the community of Sabalybougou, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Bamako, Mali, where we have been working since 2003.  The community center there already supports Troupe Don, a traditional dance and theatre company directed by award winning choreographer Karim Togola.  This group of children will eventually become our global ambassadors, taking the important messages from their African communities out into the world, and at the same time bringing back knowledge and experience to their community.  We hope to grow future leaders that will improve all aspects of their community.

Students learning traditional Malian percussion
Students learning traditional Malian percussion

Instruments 4 Africa will donate quality instruments to master musicians in our mentoring program. The master musician will trade hours of community service by taking on apprentice student(s), giving them musical and life training.  We have identified several pre-existing community centers where children can come for a nutritious breakfast and after receive musical training.  We encourage the relationship to continue outside the class setting with students being invited to play weddings or baptisms with their teacher. The apprentice program could lead to an even greater benefit:  getting children off the street, into school and into a family’s care.