Cheka Katenen - 2016 International Tours
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Cheka Katenen Dioubate, was raised by the Manding people of the ancient city of Kankan, Guinea in the tradition of the Jeli or Praise Singer. Her main instrument is her voice and she also dances, plays piano and `a few traditional percussion instruments from the Guinea region of West Africa.
The function of the Djelis or griots as we are sometimes called in the West, is a significant component of Manding cultural expression. Cheka was born into a highly musical family in which both mother and father were djelis.They were also the descendants of Djelis. In Manding culture children born into a musical family are encouraged to adhere to the cultural traditions and hold an honored place in the society. In Cheka`s family music was an integral part of everyday life and her training involved learning from the many musicians and griots residing in her area, who were bound by the code of Manding culture to pass on the ancient tradition of the Jelis, with its training in technique, improvisation, musicianship, history and storytelling.
Encouraged by her family and community, Cheka started singing for her school in 1984. She participated in school competitions every year and her school was always the area champion. Despite being very young Cheka was identified as having a musical gift. Cheka also had a lot of support from her teachers. During rehearsals they would put the little Cheka on a table so everybody could see her, because she was not tall enough otherwise.