He was born in Burkina Faso, into a West African "Jeli" family in which there is a long tradition of practising the profession of story-telling and music making. He was about 5 years old when his professional education began. From 1988 on, he and his father repeatedly won the first prize of the National Cultural Festival in Burkina Faso. Ten years later his traditional group Landaya too won the first price of this Festival.
He not only plays the balafon but also the ngoni (a smaller version of a kora) which is a traditional instrument used by hunters, and modern and traditional percussion instruments such as the djembe, dundun (bass drum) and lunga (talking drum).
Since 2000 he lives as free lancer musician in Vienna, Austria.
For more details see www.mamadoudiabate.com