NíFaly Kouyate was born into one of the the most famous families of griots of the Mandingue, the region of West Africa which includes Guinea-Conakry, Mali, the Gambia, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. As one of the most charismatic performers of his generation, NíFaly is ideally placed to carry on the legacy of his father and also to help promote knowledge, enjoyment, and respect for his culture. He is the son of Konkoba Kabinet Kouyate of Siguiri, in the Republic of Guinea. Konkoba is a rare grade of griot, superior among griots. This rare grade (there exist fewer than three in the world today) was acquired by Kabinet through achieving difficult tests and gaining a perfect mastery of the mystical secrets of Mandingue life, composed of its deep occult wisdom and the profound magic of the Mandingue world. Nífaly is joyfully following in the footsteps of his father, seeing his preordained role of griot as both a responsibility and a means of explaining the beauties of the Mandingue culture to the rest of the world. Through his performances, he uses music and storytelling as a way to open doors between different peoples and cultures, striving always to tell about his culture while embracing others, with a profund sense of inclusion rather than exclusion, of unity between cultures and finally, our shared humanity. In his solo career, he works extensively in Belgium and, indeed, throughout Europe, to teach the history of the Mandingue. Through these performances, he proposes to advance not only his culture, but his dream of the realization of understanding and tolerance among all cultures of the world. To this end, he works with his wife Muriel Finet Kouyate in their organization Namunkanda (The Defense of Culture). Through Namunkanda, he hopes to realize his goal of making certain that contributions of all, both musical and cultural, be appreciated. He is a tireless advocate of his culture, yet his love of collaboration and discovering new worlds leaves him open to all experiences. Comfortable in many worlds, he lives by his fatherís early counsel to respect and embrace new ideas; this viewpoint is deeply embodied in both his recorded and live work. He also pursues his career and goals through his work with his own ensemble Dunyakan (ìThe Voice of the Worldî) in which blues, world music, jazz and the traditional music of Guinea are intermingled. This is perhaps where his true heart lies. Their music includes traditional instruments such as the kora, djembe, balafon, and more traditional Western instruments such as the guitar, double bass and the drum battery. Their polyphonies are largely inspired by the music of Guinea, and their reliance on these lends sweetness to the rhythms, giving Dunyakan a unique sound in the cadre of ìworld music.î Dunyakan has its own unique identity, intensely personal, formed by NíFalyís ideals and dreams.
Art form: musician and singer