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SIDIKI DEMBELE

Sidiki is a versatile and acclaimed master of West African percussion and traditional instruments, with performance and teaching credits in the UK, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. He is also an experienced musical collaborator over various genres.

Sidiki began his training around the age of 5 and by aged 10 was playing professionally in his own community at important and prestigious events. By age 14 he was travelling the country, playing professionally as part of various African ballet companies and performance groups, becoming the musical director for some. In 2007, he received the great honour of being selected to be a lead performer in Andre Heller’s ‘Afrika! Afrika!’ – a magical circus adventure and sensual discovery of Africa. Sidiki performed with them for two years, before moving to the UK to continue his career.

These days, Sidiki has an enormously long list of credentials in festival appearances, theatre performances and album credits. But Sidiki will forever remain true to his roots. It is so important to him to give back to the culture and community which gave him life. His proudest achievement is that he bought his parents their own home, where they can live out their days securely.

He also started a school in his homeland where parents can send disadvantaged children to learn to play. The first graduates of that school are now an established, self-sufficient West African musician group – Denifari.

Sidiki is also giving back to Cote d’Ivoire, by organising two successful trips per year to his homeland for people to come and learn djembe, dundou, balanfon and dance from the traditional west African griot masters in the heart of his family home.

Life was not always easy for this West African musician. As a child he would regularly walk miles to get to rehearsals and performances. He often wouldn’t have money for food and would go without all day until he came home in the evening. His father discouraged him from following the path of a professional musician as he was concerned for the uncertainty this would bring for him. There were days when Sidiki wondered if he should just give in. But thankfully for us all, he powered through those difficult times and overcame every challenge to become the successful musician that he is today – and his father could not be prouder.

SIDIKI DEMBELE

Percussion