Diely Mori Tounkara

Diely Mori Tounkara seemed destined from birth to become not only a musician, but a great one at that. Thanks to his father, a skilled kora player, he learned to play this instrument. His brother, Djeli Mady Tounkara, an internationally recognized guitarist and soloist with the Super Rail Band of Bamako, also taught him.


His compositions combine his mastery of numerous traditional Mandinka pieces with a more contemporary personal repertory. With the versatility of his playing and his great technical mastery, he brings the magic of his kora to musical styles beyond African forms. He collaborates with many artists in Montréal, Québec City and Toronto, including Paul Andy, Laetitia Zonzambé, Prophète du Malheur, Alexandre Éthier, Wonny Song, Élage Diouf, Tapa Diarra and Aboulaye Koné.


In 2007, he settled in Montréal and joined the group Taafé Fanga, with which he recorded the album Tamala in 2012. He also joined the Kabakuwo collective, winners of the 2010 Syli d’Or of world music and whose début album, Malongtin, came out in 2011. He was also among the 17 artists drawn from Montréal’s communities of diversity selected to create the Arometis collective and to produce a namesake album, a project of Vision Diversité.


In 2012, he created an arts group with Estelle Lavoie combining original creations and traditional musical styles, with kora and guitar. Success soon followed: the Coup de cœur award from the Conseil des arts de Montréal, Ici Musique and the CBC diversity unit at the Vitrines de musiques locales métissées in 2013 and 2014 as well as the 2014 Diversity award (Conseil des arts de Montréal, Vision Diversité, MAI and the Place des Arts).


Today, in addition to his professional career, he teaches kora, guitar and sabar techniques to young people in Québec. He regularly puts his talent and his knowledge of traditional instruments and music at the service of some of the greats in Mali and Senegal, including Kerfala Kanté, Mangala Camara, Saramba Kouyaté and Yaye Kanouté. 


Following a noteworthy appearance on the MUZ television show, he performed his very first original production, surrounded by his musicians, in the intimate setting of the Petit Outremont in November 2019 as part of the Mardis métissés series. This widely recognized success highlighted his ability to draw an audience to the heart of a musical blend drawing upon Afro-Brazilian, jazz and Latin influences while maintaining the kora as the focus of his artistic approach. The compositions from this project will form the core of his performance, which will combine poetry, memories and generosity.

Diely Mori Tounkara
Mali - Québec