Cheka Katenen Dioubate was raised by the Manding people of the ancient city of Kankan, Guinea, in the tradition of the Djeli 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 they 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 honoured place in the society.
In Cheka`s family, music was an integral part of everyday life. Her training involved learning from the many musicians and griots residing in her area. The Djelis are bound by the code of Manding culture to pass on the ancient tradition of the Djelis with its training in technique, improvisation, musicianship, history, and storytelling.