Biography: Moussa Diakite

Born in Mali, now based in Sydney, Moussa Diakite is an iconic once in a generation guitarist, singer and composer. Playing the “Wassoulou” style of music from the Bougouni area of Mali, fused with elements of Malian, Congolese, Highlife, Afro Beat, Cuban, Blues, and Jazz, his career has been storied and groundbreaking. Alongside his Malinese musical peers and bandmates Salif Kieta and Toumani Diabite, Diakite has been one of the artists instrumental in bring African and ‘World’ music to the Western mainstream.

Moussa Diakite spent his foundational years playing lead guitar in the internationally acclaimed Afro-Latin ‘Rail Band’ (also known as ‘The Super Rail Band’). One of the first bands to combine elements of Cuban, Congolese and Jazz with West African rhythms, melodies and instrumentation, at their height of their fame the ‘Rail Band’ were selling venues and stadiums out across not only West Africa, but the world. The band also served as the launching pad to illustrious solo careers for many of its members, including lead vocalist Salif Keita (who went onto release 20 + critically acclaimed albums featuring everyone from Weather Report founders Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter to Carlos Santana) and Diakite himself.

Following his time with the ‘Rail Band’, Diakite went onto spend 5 years playing lead guitar in Grammy Award-winning Kora player, Toumani Diabate’s (Taj Mahal, Björk, Ali Farka Touré) live band before spending another 5 years playing with Salif Kieta's live band on multiple World Tours.

Since moving to Australia he has played with leading West African bands including Senegal and Guinean inspired band Keyin Ba and his own bands Badema and current outfit Wassado.  

With an impressive list of sold-out headline shows under his belt and festival credits ranging from Womadelaide and Woodford Folk Festival to Darwin Festival, Bellingen Festival, Mullum Music Fest, and Illawarra Folk Festival, Diakite has recorded 3 albums while living in Australia.

His first album “Doncomodja” was recorded in 2016 in Bamako, Mali featuring Australian musicians Ben Kitson (drums) and Simon Olsen (bass) alongside a who’s who of West African musicians including Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, Djelimady Tounkara and Cheick Tidane. His second album “Kanafo” was recorded with Wassado in Sydney at Golden Retriever Studios and featured guest performances from Oliver McGill on Keyboard (Cat Empire) Bassidi Kone on Balafon, and Stuart Fergie (OKA) on Didgeridoo.

Diakite’s forthcoming third Album “Blue Magic” was written during the 2020 COVID lock down. A situation that served to intensify his feelings of isolation as it meant he had no way to see friends and family in Mali. A nation that after 15 years of conflict since a Military coup in 2008, remains politically unstable amidst a widespread humanitarian crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Malians displaced and living in poverty.

As such, in 2022, post completing the core tracking of the album at Parliament Studios in Sydney with Wassado, he took the tracks to Africa and had traditional West African instruments added by some of Mali’s finest up and coming young musicians.

“Blue Magic” will be released September 29th 2023 through MGM.