By Vieux DiopUpdated Mar 2020
Vieux Diop (pronounced "Via Jo") is a master of the kora, a 21-stringed instrument indigenous to West Africa. A former member of Youssou N'Dour's band, Diop has toured with African percussionist Babatunde…
Vieux Diop (pronounced "Via Jo") is a master of the kora, a 21-stringed instrument indigenous to West Africa. A former member of Youssou N'Dour's band, Diop has toured with African percussionist Babatunde Olatunji and jazz musicians Jean Paul Borelli and Roy Brooks. Since emigrating to the U.S. in 1984, Diop has lectured and performed at colleges and universities including the Julliard School of Music in New York, which was the site of a weekly series, West African Journey, that he hosted in 1996. Diop serves as host of a biweekly radio show on world music, Musical Conversations, broadcast by New York radio station, WBAI-FM. While his music remains rooted in the traditions of West Africa, Diop has increasingly incorporated contemporary roots music influences. Cash Box observed that Diop "...serves up bobbing, weaving, grooves that are undeniable to the human pulse." In addition to creating heartfelt melodies on the kora, Diop plays the dissunguni (bass kora) and djembe, and sings in a mixture of traditional African languages (Wolof, Mandigo and Bambara), French and English. He has released albums to the US, starting with his self-titled 1995 debut and continuing into the next decade.