Cheick Hamala Diabate
He's a griot from a family whose lineage dates back 800 years, the human repository of stories and songs that have been passed down through some 70 generations. Cheick Hamala Diabate is also a renowned master of ngoni, a string instrument some believe to be the ancestor of the banjo. Hamala emigrated to the United States in 1995, where he continues to give concerts and educate aspiring musicians. In 2008 his collaboration with banjo player Bob Carlin earned a Grammy nomination.