The call to sing and dance first came to Sidiki Conde in a dream after he had lost the use of his legs at age fourteen. Music and dance became his transcendence and his vocation. In 1986, Sidiki founded Message d'espoir (Message of Hope), a music and dance ensemble, with other artists with disabilities he met in Conakry, capital of Guinea. Sidiki toured West Africa with Message d'espoir giving performances and working to achieve his main goal: to change people's perceptions of disabilities.
At that time, Sidiki became the manager of operations for AJAFREIS, the National Association of the Republic of Guinea for the Handicapped. There, in coordination with the government, he worked to develop programs to help people with disabilities gain job skills and integrate into society to gain independence and self-worth. Sidiki has performed with many of the best West African music and dance ensembles including the prestigious Les Merveilles de Guinee, which he joined in 1987. Kemoko Sano, founder of Les Merveilles de Guinee, trained Sidiki in the repertoire of traditional music and dance, and soon, he performed as a soloist. In 1988, he became the rehearsal master of the company.
In 1998, Sidiki came to America and one year later, he founded his own dance and music company, Tokounou. Sidiki works extensively with children and adults of all abilities giving performances, as well as teaching African dance and music in schools, hospitals and universities all through the US. Last Spring , he offered a series of 10 performances with Tokounou in Special Need Schools through New York City Special Education District 75. For three years, Sidiki has been an artist in residence in PS-811 in the Bronx, which serves children with disabilities.
Sidiki and Tokounou gave a six week music and dance school program in Florida for children. In this program, children learned West African percussion and dances, Caribbean dance, Jazz and Hip Hop dance as well Gospel songs. Sidiki choreographed mid-session and end of session performances in which all the children participated. The majority of the children involved came from foster homes and the program was sponsored in part by the Friends of Abused Children.
Sidiki has performed all over the world bringing his message of love, peace and hope to all who see him sing, dance and drum. He has performed with Mamady Keita, Kanda Bongo Man, Kabine Kouyate, Salif Keita, Yossou N'Dour, Baba Maal and many others...
Sidiki Conde's All Ability African Dance Project is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. This program uses African dance and music to integrate children with disabilities into an artistic community with non-disabled children. He's also been just awarded the Artists Exploration Fund by Arts International.
In May 2000, Sidiki hand-cycled across America for 22 days with the World TEAM (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) Sport of America, as part of an athletic and humanitarian event. He is a member of the WTS, traveling throughout the Northeast as a motivational speaker. He also obtained the Challenged Athlete Foundation Grant in 2002 and 2003.
His self titled debut recording produced by Rick Depofi of NY Noise marks his amazing and seamless transition into the Pop/World music arena. This recording chronicles his journey through adversity as a differently abled person and celebrates the traditional arts of his homeland of Guinea, West Africa.
This year Sidiki has received the Composition Award from the Society for Traditional Music, a two month residency to teach in Brazil in the Fall, as well as grant from the Doris Duke Charitable trust and the Islamic Fund to return home to West Africa with his new band and bring the music home. A documentary about his life and the making of his record is currently in production by NYC based DUFFILMS and will be screened this fall, 2004.