Famoudou Konate, African Djembe Drumming Master from Malinke Tradition of Guinea, West Africa

Thank you to all who supported the Famoudou Konaté workshops from 2000 through 2004. Highlights from all 4 North American tours are coming soon.


Famoudou Konaté:
Master of the Malinké Djembe Tradition

Famoudou Konaté is one of only a handful of Initiated Masters of the Malinké Djembe Tradition. In over 40 years of tours and performances as Guinea's leading djembefola, he has elevated the djembe orchestra from its traditional roots to worldwide popularity. Among Guinean drummers, he is universally recognized for his unsurpassed knowledge of the repertoire of the Malinké people, the creators of the djembe and its core tradition.

Famoudou was born in 1940 in Sangbarala, a village in the Hamana region. Hamana is the Malinké heartland in Guinea, and is also the birthplace of the Dundunba family of rhythms which are Famoudou's specialty. A percussive prodigy, he was drumming in community festivals and ceremonies by age eight, and was in demand throughout the region as a djembefola by the age of fourteen.

Recruited into Guinea's Les Ballets Africains in 1959, he was Lead Djembe Drummer for Les Ballets until 1985, performing with astounding virtuosity and creating many of the musical arrangements now common in ballets and performance groups world-wide. Famoudou toured the world performing to acclaim for 26 years, establishing Les Ballets as West Africa's foremost performing company.

Since 1986, he has taught and performed annually in Europe, instilling a generation of European djembe drummers with an extraordinary level of training, while teaching with thoroughness, patience and humor. His pioneering contributions were recognized in 1996 with an Honorary Professorship in African Musical Education and Practice from the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Since 2000, he has also taught annually in North America.

Famoudou has recorded 5 classic djembe CDs; has co-authored a book on the drum music of the Malinké people; and has been guest soloist on 2 CDs and in 2 films with Mamady Keďta. Since leaving Les Ballets, he has directed The Famoudou Konaté Ensemble and the groups Hamana Diara, Hamana Dan Ba and Hamana Föli Kan. He is also a key member of the group Mögöbalu (the Masters), alongside dundunfola Daouda Kourouma and Master Drummer Mamady Keďta.

This site is maintained by Famoudou Konaté's North American Managers from 1999-2004,
Lilian Friedberg &
Jim Banks,
2849 E. 93rd St. Chicago, IL 60617
t: 773-251-8067
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