Polyphonic Ground: Blandine + Fatoumata Kouyaté + Mabinty Sylla

Co-presented by Batuki Music Society and Lula Music and Arts Centre.

A talented singer, composer and dancer, Blandine blends traditional and popular sounds from the Congo with afrobeat, R&B, jazz and pop. Having worked as a vocalist for highly-renowned artists such as Mbilia Bel, Afrisa International, Awilo Longomba, Quartier Latin, Simply the Best, Natalie Makoma, Mélanie Durrant and Donne Roberts, Blandine has released a number of singles under her own name. The latest Rockyna, is a return to her rumba roots and a collaboration with Congolese veteran musicians, Nyboma Kanta and Lokassa Ya Mbongo.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Lome, Togo, Blandine developed a passion for singing at an early age and was exposed to a variety of music from Africa, Europe and America. She apprenticed with jazz and classical choirs and in Canada studied at York University. She has performed at major festivals in Ontario, Quebec, New York, Colombia, Europe and Africa.

Fatoumata Kouyaté and Mabinty Sylla

Descended from a long line of griots, Fatoumata Kouyaté is a balafonist, singer, percussionist, founder of Groupe Djéliguinet et ses Enfants, member of the National Theatre Troupe of Guinea and Amazones Women Drummers. The balafon is sacred Guinea tradition and traditionally only played by men. The first was made by the King of Susu (former African empire in the 11th century) and was given to the griot Balafaseke Kouyaté. The Kouyatés have been an important family of storytellers through the generations. Fatoumata is a direct descendant and one of the first African women to play the balafon, breaking an age-old taboo of the Manding Empire.

Born in Guinea, Mabinty Sylla is a professional dancer, choreographer and instructor of West African traditional dance. She began her dance training in Conakry with Mamadouba Camara, the first soloist for the Ballet Djoliba and former soloist for the Ballet Africains; two of West Africa’s most respected traditional groups. She also studied and performed with Ballet Tayeli before moving to Toronto in 2008. Mabinty has performed in many festivals and cities across Canada and teaches dance in schools, community programmes and private workshops for individual and groups in the city.

Please note: Dinner Reservations guarantee seating at Lula Lounge.
Visit https://www.lula.ca/ or 416-588-0307 to reserve.


Batuki Music Society promotes African music and art through performances at music venues throughout the year and culminating into the always popular Habari Fest. The organization actively seeks out local artists and works with them by helping find performance venues, advice on career development, music recording, touring and management. Batuki Music Society also provides visibility and necessary publicity to artists who hail from minority groups by placing them in concerts and festivals in mainstream venues to help them integrate.


Lula Music and Arts Centre (LMAC) aspires to nourish a thriving Canadian world music scene. With a focus on local world artists performing music of the Americas, LMAC fosters all expressions of Canadian world music. Through concerts, festivals, cultural exchanges, education and outreach as well as audience and professional development, LMAC supports musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds, encouraging artistic cross-pollination and cross-cultural understanding. LMAC values collaboration, mutual respect in all partnerships, community development, inclusiveness, diversity, accessibility and artistic integrity.


Polyphonic Ground is a collaborative working model that unites 11 small and medium-sized live music presenters committed to building and sustaining Toronto as a global music city. The organizations include Ashkenaz Foundation, Batuki Music Society, Good Kind Productions, Link Music Lab, Lula Music & Arts Centre, MonstrARTity Creative Community, Music Africa, Revolutions Per Minute, Small World Music Society, Uma Nota Culture and World Fiddle Day Toronto.