Naby Camara was born in Boke, a village in the coastal region of Guinea, West Africa. He is a griot or traditional oral historian, as are/were his father, brother, grandfather, and great grandfather.
The legendary balafon player Amadu Djabate was Naby's first teacher. Naby began playing music at the age of three, and is a master of balafon, djembe, and doundoun.
In Africa, Nabi played for many traditional ceremonies, weddings and celebrations. He was also a member of numerous well known groups such as Fatala, Les Merve, Mandeng Yahara, and Les Ballet African de Guinea. Since then, Naby has traveled the world performing the sweet melodies of the Mandingo people and sharing his rich culture. The very firstbalafon, the sosso bala, is over eight centuries old. Soumaworo Kante, leader of the Sosso Kingdom, crafted the first balafon after meeting with spirits who showed him the instrument. He kept his instrument jealously guarded and allowed no one to touch it but himself. It is said that if a fly touched it he would find it and kill it.
During the time of battle with the Mandingo Kingdom, a griot named Diakouma Dova, who was imprisoned at Soumaworo's court, defied the warnings and played the sosso-bala. However enraged by the audacity, Soumaworo was impressed by the griot's talent. He then authorized Diakouma Doua to play the sosso-bala and named him "Bala Fasseke Kwate" (the balafon player). Thus Bala Fasseke became the guardian of Soumaworo Kante's balafon. Since then it has remained in the hands of the Kouyate family and the descendents of Bala Fasseke Kwate. The balafon has become a privileged instrument in all important ceremonies. Today after more than 800 years, the original balafon is kept virtually intact in the village of Niagassola in the north of Guinea.
Courtesy Calabash Music