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Djialy Kunda Kouyate

Performances in
World Arts West Programs
Contante (Happiness)
The Griots
Disciplines
Mandeng and Wolof
Instruments Used
Balafon
Djembe
Kora

Djialy Kunda Kouyate"The Twins," Assane and Ousseynou Kouyate, come from a long line of "djialies" (jalis), historians, genealogists, storytellers, and keepers of cultural traditions from the Mendeng people of Mali. While the Kouyate twins were born in the country of Mali, they grew up in Senegal, so their style of music and dance exhibits cultural elements of Wolof dance and music as well.

Assane and Ousseynou performed with the National Ballet of Senegal and other Africa-based companies until moving to the United States in 1997. Since then, they developed their own company, Ballet Jali Diabate, which has had members in Hawaii and California, and frequent guest performers from Africa. They recently renamed their group Djialy Kunda Kouyate, and now perform as a large musical ensemble doing concerts, as well dance performances and educational programs.

The Twins appeared in People Like Me 2001: Dancing at the Crossroads, and in People Like Me 2005: Itís all Relative! In these performances, they carry on their family tradition of praise singing, storytelling, and Malian and Senegalese dance, accompanied by a musical ensemble which includes the African harp/lute known as the kora, a wooden xylophone with resonators known as the balafon, and the djembe, a single-headed large vase drum played by hand.

 



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