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Mali America Music Project

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My name is Lindsey Schust, I'm a singer-songwriter, composer, keyboardist and drummer from rural New Hampshire. I have a master's in music composition from Tufts University. African drumming, dance and song have been a part of my life since I was a child and my mother Grace Schust started learning to drum from Baba Olatunji.

I am currently raising funds for a multi-national recording and video project with my talented friend Sinaly Diabaté (called Papus aka "Papa Zani", which is his stage name), a West African master guitarist and master drummer from Bamako, Mali in West Africa. His father Zani Diabaté was the premiere guitarist of Mali, of the “Super Djata Band” and also was the director of the National Malian Ballet. Papus continues in his father’s footsteps as a lead drummer in the Malian Ballet, and he delights audiences throughout Mali on his guitar.

We had the vision to promote the traditional music of Mali through musical collaboration. By creating something new from something old and traditional, we hope to gain new audiences for Malian traditional and worldbeat music. While the old music traditions are still strong in Mali, there is a tendency, especially among young people, to adopt Western music and abandon traditional music and folkloric drumming-dancing traditions for more popular modern music. We hope this project will give younger folks in Mali an appreciation for some of the traditional flavors of music, and we also want to promote these traditional styles to wider audiences outside of Mali, and outside of Africa. It is a continuation of the work that Babatunde Olatunji began in the 1960s with his hit album "Drums of Passion".

Papa Zani and I have co-written and arranged 6 songs that mix Malian-style guitar, singing and percussion with jazz, blues, salsa, reggae and pop music. The lyrics are in English, French, Spanish and the native language of Mali (Bambara). Papus plays lead guitar and lead djembe and has been co-producing it in the studio with Baba Simaga. I sing songs and play on the keyboard. We have Malian singers on the album too, including Papus’ young daughter Kadi Diabaté and his friend Alou Sangaré, a popular Bambara singer in Mali. My friend Caleb Cressman (pedal steel) and cousin Hireath (vocals) are also a part of this international album.

We have already recorded 4 songs, and have filmed a music video for the first song “Moussow” (women), which needs to be edited in Mali.

With our music, we hope to bring joy to our audience, educate people about life in Mali, to promote West African traditional music. We also want to open the door to more cross-cultural exchange between Mali and America. We hope to bring light to the everyday struggles of the Malian people both in the cities and the rural villages and wish that our music may inspire some further projects to help women and men in Mali build a better future. We would love you to join us on this adventure, we are currently fundraising to help complete the album and our second music video. Our stretch goal is to meet in Europe and premiere these pieces and begin a teaching and performing tour

What we are looking for a $6,000 budget, is funding to:
1) Finish the album
2) Record and edit 2 music videos (the first one is already in the works filmed, waiting to be edited): Moussow (women) and Bara (work)
3) Travel funds for Papa Zani to go to Europe and meet Linz for a performance
& teaching tour
4) Stretch goals:
a) Expand Papa Zani's home studio in Bamako "Studio Zani Diabaté"
b) Collect a small fund ($700) for women in the village of Wancoro to build a community garden. Sinaly (Papa Zani) will deliver the funds to the village's head woman Massitan Mariko who will oversee the project.

Plan B
If we don’t reach our goal: we will do fewer songs. Up to this point, I have funded the project and have reached the point where I need to ask for help to complete it.

Thank you in advance

For watching and considering it, and hopefully for your donation to an extremely good cause, and for a really exciting project that has legs. We would be grateful for any donation of any size, and we will include you in this musical journey.

We will keep you updated as the album continues and videos continue and the project grows.

Thank you!


  • Donna Reade
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Zachariah Combs
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $150 
    • 3 mos
  • Judy Pfaff
    • $50 
    • 4 mos

Fundraising team (2)

Lindsey Schust
Andover, NH
Crystal Gaff
Team member

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