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Boka Kouyate and Friends


Mamady Keita Memorial

To wrap up this year's festival, Djely Boka Kouyate will lead this community musical celebration of the life of Djembe Master Mamady Keita. The program will begin with a "drum talk" performance, followed by Boka singing a song for Mamady's Keita family ancestors. Finally, Boka will lead festival attendees in community drumming in memory of the generosity of Mamady Keita, who is recognized as one of the great advocates and teachers of the djembe and West African music in the world.

Artist bio

Boka Kouyate was born into a Griot tradition in Conakry, Guinea. His father was guitarist, ballaphonist and traditional storyteller Djely Nounke Kouyate. His mother is the popular Djely singer Djon Dioubate is also a Djely popular singer in Guinea.

Boka was strapped to his mother's back as a child, traveling with her from ceremony to ceremony every day. Soon he began singing with her. His music education with his father teaching him the Balaphone and stories within their tradition. Later, Boka began writing his own songs during his years in French School.

In 2008, Boka gained citywide recognition as the General Director of the national performance company called Gnankoumandou. As a young Djely in tradition, Boka graduated from the University of Kankan with a degree in Microbiology degree in 2010.

As a singer and djembe player, Boka toured with many famous Guinean artists from 2000 to 2014 throughout West Africa. When he moved to the Seattle in early 2014, Boka co-founded Kouyate Arts, an inter-active performance company of drummers, dancers and singers. He is also the Lead vocalist and composer for Boka Kouyate & The Djeliyah Band, sharing a unique fusion of popular African and traditional Djely music with the world.


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