Dr Lucy Durán, School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Lucy Durán is a lecturer in the Music Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University where she teaches courses on West African and Cuban music. She has been researching the music of the Mande world since 1977, working with musicians in Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Mali, as well as among the Mande diaspora in Europe. Her writings have focused on Mali’s star women singers, on the kora, and on the style of music known as wassoulou popularised by such artists as Oumou Sangaré. In addition to her academic work, she has a long professional involvement with the media and the music industry. She is a broadcaster (she has been the regular presenter of BBC Radio 3’s leading world music programme World Routes since it began in 2000) and has been at the forefront of the promotion and dissemination of Malian music since the late 1980s. She has produced acclaimed albums by leading West African artists such as kora player Toumani Diabaté, Guinea Bissau’s singer-songwriter Manecas Costa, revered Malian singer Kasse Mady Diabaté, and virtuoso Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyaté with his group Ngoniba. Her albums have received two Grammy nominations: Kassi Kasse (2003, Discos Corason, featuring the voice of Kasse Mady, recorded on location in Kela, Mali) and I speak fula (2010, Out Here records, featuring Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoniba. Her recent research also focuses on the music and culture of wedding parties in Mali, and she is in the later stages of writing a book on the subject.