This project was really born 20 years ago when Sinaly Papus Diabaté (“Papa Zani”) and Lindsey Schust met in Switzerland 20 years ago to produce an album, concert and workshop series with their friends Caleb Cressman and Shoshana Iten. As a result of that teaching and performing residency, they put out a hit single called “Yiriba Ye” (big tree)- a traditional Malian song which they arranged for guitar, harpsichord, and jazzy harmonies. This song became a favorite on Mali radio and also inspired Lindsey to get her masters degree in music composition from Tufts University.

Fast forward to 2022, when smart phones enable lightening fast and relatively cheap communication between New Hampshire and Mali, West Africa, and these two friends decided to start a new project, Mali America Music, a cross-cultural music album and music video project co-produced across two continents.