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Feel free to Listen Below to Soundclips of Djembe and Kora Music !! (Amadou Kouyate)



Djembe Drumming



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Amadou Kouyate

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Born in the Washington, DC, Amadou Kouyate is the 150th generation of the Kouyate lineage and has studied and performed Manding music since the age of three years old. Amadou is a dynamic djembe and koutiro drummer. He also plays the 21-string kora, which he learned first with his father, Djimo Kouyate and other master Diali --oral historians/musicians-- of Manding tradition in West Africa. Amadou has dedicated his life to the task of become an ambassador of African culture to the world. The catalyst for such a responsibility is the passion he has for reconnecting those of the African Diasporas to one another. His repertoire ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to contemporary original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs.

Selected as a 2013-2014 Strathmore Artist in Residence, Amadou Kouyate also has received the Maryland Start Arts Council Governor's Citation and other artistic awards from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Special Talents and Musical Theatre Scholarships at Howard University and Levine School of Music. Amadou has studied in Mali, Senegal, and Guinea with master musicians of the Diali tradition including Djimo Kouyate and Toumani Diabate. Amadou Kouyate served as an Adjunct Lecturer of African Music and Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland and as Artist-In-Residence at Montgomery College before pursuing his career as a professional solo artist and collaborator full time.

In addition to his solo work, Amadou Kouyate performs with his world rock ensemble Proper SKANKS as well as with Farafina Kan, Kankouran West African Dance Company, Manding Jata, Spank Rock, Urban Afrikan, The Kouyate Family/Memory of African Culture and past performances with African American Dance Ensemble, Images of Cultural Artistry and Mamaya African Jazz. His credits include performances at The Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Bristol Academy and Isle of White (England), Tim Festival (Brazil), Lowell, East-Lansing and Dayton National Folk Festivals, DanceAfrica DC and Chicago, with The National Symphony Orchestra, the production "Soul Possessed," directed by Debbie Allen and at Carnegie Hall with Sweet Honey in The Rock and the WPAS Men and Women of the Gospel in "INDABA."

Musician/Performing Artist: African Instrumental Music - Kora, Djembe, Koutiro and pre-production

  • Proper SKANKS - 2008 to present, Lead Artist
  • Farafina Kan, 2002- present
  • Memory of African Culture Inc., 1985 - present
  • Urban AfriKan, 2003 - 2009
  • Manding Griot Ensemble, 1998 - 2005
  • Wato Sita Ensemble Project with Fred Johnson and Pepe Gonzalez, 2004
  • African American Dance Ensemble, Chuck Davis - Artistic Director, 2003 - 2004
  • Spoken Word/Hip Hop Artist: Hue-man Prophets, 1996 - 2002
  • Actor/Theater Artist: TASA - Teens Against the Spread of AIDS; 1999 - 2000

    Other Major Production Credits:

  • "Hera Suite" original compositions and arrangements for University of Maryland and Montgomery College symphonic and djembe orchestras, 2008
  • "Indaba" Sweet Honey In the Rock w/ WPAS Mass Choir- November 2006
  • "Oedipus" Shakespeare Theater, Washington, DC - recorded for musical score, August 2001
  • "Timbuktu" Howard University Department of Theatre Arts, 2001
  • "The Washington Christmas Revels" December 1998
  • "Spirit of Kwanzaa" Dance Institute of Washington, December 2000,2003,2004,2005, 2006,
  • "Soul Possessed" produced by Debbie Allen for the Kennedy Center, 1999
  • The National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, directed by Hannibal 1997

    Adjunct Lecturer/Drum Instructor, Asst. Drum Instructor, Guest Instructor

  • Montgomery College World Music Ensemble, 2005-present
  • University of Maryland Ethnomusicology African Drum Ensemble Class, 1998-2010
  • Summer Education Arts Sports Program - DC TANF/DC Public Schools, 2001

    Music Accompanist for Dance Classes

  • University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2018-present
  • Hollins University, Summer 2018
  • American Dance Festival, Summer 2017
  • Towson University, African Dance, 2008  
  • Howard University, Guest Instructor: Dianne McIntyre 2008, 2007
  • DC Youth Ensemble, Summer 2008
  • Sunrise Academy, 2002-2003
  • Children and Youth Investment Corporation @ Perry School, 2001
  • Summer Education Arts Sports Program - DC TANF, DC Public Schools, 2001
  • Howard University - Dance Major Program/Dialiya-Kora Project, 2001
  • Assistant to Mahiri Keita for Kono Youth Ensemble classes, 1998-99

"As in the traditional context of 'Fasiya,' that which is passed through the generations, I am a Djali. Often synonymous to the French word griot, a storyteller, I have inherited a duty far beyond the comprehension of any story. As the 150th generation of the Kouyate clan, it is my responsibility to preserve the history of the Manding peoples and civilizations, and hand this knowledge down to my children. Unlike any generation before me, I am the first generation born on American soil, and therefore must preserve the knowledge of my mother's clan, who have sewn their roots into this nation since their being stripped from the arms of our motherland many centuries ago. As my heart beats to the rhythm of my ancestors, I recognize Fasiya as a part of myself. Creative expression is the vessel through which I can effectively excel in the pursuit of my interest, and properly fulfill my traditional responsibility on a broader level. In preserving the tradition, I devise new concepts of relaying ancient information into contemporary appeal, in hopes that one day my name shall be lauded for ages to come. Peace & Blessings"

-Amadou E. Kouyate







Djembe Drumming


For additional information, telephone: Amadou Kouyate or MAC, Inc. at

Tel. 443/813-3695 or  202/210-7120 

MAC, Inc. P.O. Box 50045, Washington, D.C. 20091;





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