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Arouna + Biko: Making of Bamanaya Sira

Music has the power to transcend all borders and boundaries.  Arouna Diarra and Biko Casini met in Ghana for the first time and though they didn’t speak the same language they connected musically in a deep and powerful way.  Several years later, following a grief ritual with Sebonfu Some, a ceremonial leader from Burkina Faso, Arouna and Biko met again at a small wine bar in Asheville North Carolina. They played an entire concert together before remembering that they had met several years prior.  Life brought these two wonderful musicians together to bridge worlds, create magic, and to open the hearts of those touched by their exquisite music.  Now, after performing hundreds of shows which have included playing at youth detention centers, prisons and gun melting ceremonies, as well as touring together with Rising Appalachia, Arouna and Biko are releasing their debut album “Bamanaya Sira”.

Arouna Diarra, originally from Burkina Faso, West Africa, is an accomplished Ngoni, Kora and Balafon player.  Coming from a long lineage of music, he is a 12th generation musician and storyteller, performing traditional and contemporary songs in his native language Bambara.  Biko Casini was born in Ireland and grew up on “The Farm”, a famous intentional community in southern Tennessee.  As a child his father played songs in many different languages, opening Biko’s awareness to a diverse range of cultures and music.  Biko is a singer, songwriter, and skilled percussionist who values music as a tool for bringing people together to strengthen human values.

In the misty late autumn on the west coast of Canada, Arouna, Biko and a wonderful group of musicians hailing from all corners of the globe, gathered together in the Come to Life Studio to create the duo’s first record.  The album title “Bamanaya Sira” means “the many branches of the ancient culture” and is a living prayer for the continuation of timeless traditions. These traditions are woven into the songs and music of this record, offering a tool for people to connect to the past, explore their present and shape their future.  It is Arouna and Biko’s hope that this album will carry this timeless music and tradition where it is needed, connecting the many branches and pathways of modern life to the ancient roots of ancestry.