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In the Spotlight

Mady Kouyate

Djely Mady Kouyate was born in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. He is a descendent of the Diaolu people who are oral historians and musicians of the Manding traditions. Mady is the son of Dialy Mamadou (Professor of the Conservatory of the Arts and Drama, Senegal), from whom he learned the family tradition of musical artistry and verse that records the history of West African societies. Mady performs both as a solo artist and with his family, a popular ensemble who play at festivals, community functions, educational institutions, museums, and African embassies, performing a mix of traditional (dating to the 13th century) and contemporary songs. Mady also provides accompaniment for many vocal artists, and plays and tours with various groups.

Mady began playing the kora, a 21-stringed harp, during childhood. He relocated at age 16 to Bamako, Mali, to further pursue his traditional lineage of a griot, or oral storyteller. In 1993, he began his apprenticeship under virtuoso Kora artist, Toumani Disabate, and continued his studies in music and theory at the L'Institut National des Arts (National Institute of the Arts) in Bamako. He performs professionally with Toumani's symphony band, touring in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Cote d'Ivoire. In the year 2000, Mady made his first international tour, covering more than 30 US states in the USA with the Ballet d'Afrique Noire.

Mady is currently based in Ypsilanti, Michigan and has performed at the University of Michigan, Ohio University, University of Maryland, Howard University, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Dance Institute of Washington, and numerous art festivals. In addition to playing at Marquette's One World Beat 2004 concert, Mady will visit classes at Northern Michigan University, serving as a guest of the university. He will be speaking about Malian folk music and HIV/AIDS, and create and perform a special HIV/AIDS song.


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"You guys Rock."
Leigh Blake, Founder - Keep A Child Alive