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Abubakr Sory Kouyate

West African Djembe Drum Master & Teacher

Born in Africa, Abubakr Kouyate grew up in New York City.

He later lived and studied in Guinea, West Africa, for several years.

Abubakr has over 40 years of drumming experience. He is widely recognized among other African drummers as a master drummer.

His professional credits include performing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in 1994 while appearing with Ballets Bugarabu, a troupe of dancers and drummers from the Casamanche region of Guinea and Senegal.

As empresario he brought the Ballets Djoliba, one of the two national ballet companies of Guinea, to the United States for the first time to perform at the Apollo Theatre in 1972.

Abubakr often performs on TV and radio and has been featured in the Houston Chronicle and other daily newspapers. His performances have been featured on videotapes, DVDs, and CDs.

Abubakr performs at many large music festivals, including the Houston International Festival, and has performed at jazz festivals in Texas, Louisiana, New York, Boston and elsewhere on the East Coast.

Abubakr performs in professional stage productions such as Houston Christmas Revels and in church musical productions, concerts, clubs and large private parties. He is much in demand for community African cultural celebrations such as Kwanzaa.

Abubakr teaches people of all ages and levels of drumming experience. His students range from first-time beginners to professional drummers who want to learn authentic djembe rhythms and techniques.

Abubakr has a kind, but firm, presence that is excellent with children. He has taught in many school, library, and after-school programs, from high school down to and including preschool.

He often performs at the Houston Children’s Museum.

Information on
Drumming & Classes

For information on the Thursday night class and Saturday morning class, see our West African Djembe Drumming Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/WestAfricanDjembeDrumming

Buy Traditional Djembes

Abubakr imports hand-carved professional djembes and dunnun sets direct from Guinea, West Africa. To see them, go to Traditional Djembe, http://www.traditionaldjembe.com.

Abubakr Kouyate soloing on djembe at the Houston International Festival, 2006.

Abubakr Kouyate soloing on the djembe at the Houston International Festival in 2006.

Performance Information

Now booking 2011 and 2012 programs at schools and libraries. For prices and availability, email djelyabubakr@gmail.com

A traditional African storyteller often performs with Abubakr.

A spectacular masked stilt-dancer is also available.


Chakaba masked stilt dancers

Contact Abubakr Kouyate

home 713-521-7240

mobile 832-279-0879

PO Box 88326 • Houston, TX 77288

Email djelyabubakr@gmail.com

Traditional Djembe http:www.traditionaldjembe.com

Drumming Is at the Heart of
West African Village Life

There are special djembe rhythms for healing, celebration, boys, girls, women, men, old and young, sacred days, special places, honored guests and dignitaries, weddings, births, festivals, and flirtation.

There are rhythms for calling helpful spirits, solving problems, competing in shows of strength and agility, going to war, gathering the harvest, giving thanks, dancing, divining the future, and celebrating life.

Authentic djembe hand carved from a single length of tropical wood tree trunk.

An authentic djembe drum is carved by hand from a single piece of wood. The drum head is tightly stretched goatskin.

Drumming Is Good for You!

Medical research has shown that drumming not only relaxes and energizes, it also synchronizes and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Drumming heals the body and brain, alleviates depression, and stimulates creativity.

Drumming lifts the spirits, and it is exciting and fun!

For more information on the medical benefits of drumming, see

* Healing Power of African Drumming, Part 1

* Research on the Power of Drumming for Healing

* Healing Power of African Drumming, Part 3

* Reaping the Benefits of Drumming

* Drumming and Healing Resources

* Buying a Drum

Debra Rueb (left), Abubakr Kouyate, and Dr. Jackie playing djembe in class.

Debra Rueb (playing ashiko, left), Abubakr, and Dr. Jackie St.Cyr playing djembe parts in Thursday night drum class.

Abubakr demonstrating the kenkeni (drum) part of a complex djembe rhythm.

Abubakr demonstrating part of a complex djembe rhythm.

The Djembe Orchestra---
Complex Multipart Rhythms
With a Part for Everyone to Play

Each djembe rhythm requires at least six drummers. Three drummers play the big lead drums, the sangba, kenkeni, and dunnumba, using sticks. Each drum has a different sound, and the parts interlock.

At least three djembe drummers are required to play the solo, first accompaniment, and second accompaniment parts on the djembe hand drums.

Together the six parts form one intricate, powerful rhythm.

Abubakr and students performing at the Houston International Festival, April 2006.

Abubakr Kouyate • PO Box 88326 • Houston, TX 77288

African masked stilt dancers