Master drummer Dramane Koné was born in Burkina Faso in West Africa and was soon recognized as a musical prodigy of the famous Kone griot lineage. By age 3, Dramane was studying djembe performance with his father and grandfather, both griots and master drummers with many years of experience. In his early childhood, Dramane's family relocated to neighboring Mali, and then a few years later they returned to Burkina Faso where an episode in young Dramane's musical education was documented by filmmaker Taale Laafi Rossellini in the award-winning 1997 film Great Great Great Grandparent's Music. Having established himself at a very early age as a world-class djembefola, Kone has billed himself in recent years (with a twinkle in his eye) as "the world's best djembefola" and is also very proficient on balafon. In more reflective moods, he has insisted that 'there is no such thing as a world's best musician' due to the subjectivity of music appreciation and that he only says such things to foil any would be rivals.
In 1998, Koné toured Europe with the the National Ballet of Burkina Faso Lanaya Kadi. The following year Lanaya Kadi recruited Dramane as lead soloist for another European tour. Following the second tour, Koné set his sights on travel to the United States, for a visit with his elder brother Mamadou Koné, also a well-known master drummer and griot. Although their original reason for visiting the U.S. was to perform and teach under a contract with a cultural exchange business based in Santa Cruz, CA, the Koné brothers took a liking to the people and culture during and after some musical touring, and finding warm welcomes, decided to stay longer. Eventually both brothers married American women and relocated permanently (both are fluent in English, French, and African languages, and soon became U.S. citizens). After an extensive tour of Europe with Lanaya Kadi in 1999, when Dramane returned to America (where he had already developed some fond memories and associations in Santa Cruz, CA and Mamadou had already permanently settled), Dramane formed his own performance group Djelia Kadi there. Dramane later relocated to Santa Monica, CA, where he still resides.
Dramane formed his group Djelia Kadi in 2001 with djembefolas/students David Helvey, Chris Field, djembefola/balafon player Tony, dununfola Vijay Rakhra and dancers Amber Wheeler, April, Charlotte, Margarite, and even two acrobats, Dan and David. The group's initial raison d'être was as an educational seminar, as Koné taught each of the members their parts and basic west African rhythms and playing techniques on djembe, dunun and balafon. Soon it evolved into a musical/entertainment performance and recording ensemble. Two of Dramane's top students, percussionists and djembefolas David Hilal and Andrew Acquista joined Djelia Kadi in 2007. Djelia Kadi's 2002-2003 self-titled recording Djelia Kadi (in English: It's Good to be a Griot) features 8 tracks including Dramane's arrangements of such west African drumming classics as Djelidon and Mendiani as well as several of his originals featuring himself on balafon and lead djembe and the entire ensemble (of course, minus dancers and acrobats). Following the release of the first CD, Dramane continued to perform as a soloist and with various incarnations of his Djelia Kadi ensemble in the Bay Area (San Francisco). Djelia Kadi also performed at a benefit dance concert at Motherland Music in Culver City, CA in 2010 for flood victims and orphans in Burkina Faso, raising thousands of dollars. All proceeds of that fundraiser were sent personally by Dramane to Burkina Faso orphanages to benefit people affected by the September, 2009 crisis. "I have to help my brothers and sisters!" he insisted.
In summer 2005, Koné performed as part of a multi-cultural group at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, and following that performance he stayed on for several weeks at a hotel and with American friends residing in southern California. During his stay he visited the tourist sites of Hollywood and became enamored with U.S. west coast film culture. "I love Hollywood, and I love America very much," he says. Koné also loves to laugh (his intense shrieking laughter is stunning). He also loves to entertain and make others laugh heartily. A lifelong fan of pop idol Michael Jackson, Dramane had a favorite photo of himself taken pointing to Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame altered in Adobe Photoshop® as if to insinuate that Dramane Koné's star will also rise to great heights and that his place in music history will also be one of adulation and global notoriety. When musicians get such crazy ideas in their heads, it's no simple matter to talk them out of their dreams! Ambitions are plentiful in this master drummer's world. Koné relishes his moments in the limelight and says that as a griot he is called to bring love and music to people.
Dramane is also an active music teacher in and around southern California. He joined corporate culture-enhancement 'organizational spirit energizer' service Drum Café West (California) in 2006 and continues to entertain and perform at corporate and special events year-round in the U.S. and abroad. Highlights of the many Drum Cafe performances include an impromptu jam session with piano/composer legend Herbie Hancock and a nightclub date at Santa Barbara's Soho Restaurant & Music Club performing with percussion luminary Luis Conte. In 2010, Koné appeared in a FIFA World Cup TV ad with Colombian Latin/pop superstar Shakira.


Phone:  (831) 239-0922 Email: KoneDramane@hotmail.com
Skype:  dramaneUSA Facebook:   DramaneKone


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