A songwriter, musician and great percussionist, Kissima Diabate was born and grew up in Dakar in a family of griots of Malian descent. At an early age, he followed his father, Mbala Diabate, and his mother, Dabi Bà, along with Makhangari Bà, in several traditional music groups. At age 12, Kissima began his professional career as a djembé soloist with the Ballet d’Afrique Noire. Four years later, he jointed the Ballet National du Sénégal as a drum soloist and dancer, touring Europe, America and Asia for eight years.
Kissima Diabate has led several musical groups – Keur Sénégal (Switzerland), Nanou Diapo and Jam Ak Jam (Germany), Bëug Fallou and GroupeKiss (Senegal) – with which he has produced six albums. Playing various instruments, among them the djembé, doundoun, sabar, tama, sewourouba, bougarabou, balafon, kora and keyboards, Kissima has led an international career that has flavoured his music with various styles, including traditional, reggae, Afro, funk and soul.
In addition to performing as an artist, Kissima Diabate teaches percussions and traditional dance at several schools and festivals across the African continent, Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. Since 2011, Kissima has produced most of his shows in Montreal. Along with his recent artistic collaborations in Canada and the United States and his appearance at the Tobago Heritage Festival, Kissima Diabate is currently working on brand new musical creations and will soon be bringing out his new album.