'The West African griot is a troubadour, the counterpart of the medieval European minstrel … [whose] virtuoso talents … command universal admiration … [and] is the culmination of long years of study and hard work under the tuition of a teacher who is often a father or uncle.’ Francis Bebey, 1969, 1975. African Music, A People’s Art, Lawrence Hill Books Brooklyn  

Traditionally, a griot (French) or jeli (Mandinka; Bambara) is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician.

Griot moderne

Singer Musician Composer Teacher Collaborator across continents 

Malian musician Aboubacar Djéliké Kouyate was born into the jeli tradition in the riverside village of Djoliba during the 1970s and from the age of seven, under the eye of his father Adama Kouyate (Super Rail Band Bamako), began formal training in the inherited oral and instrumental traditions that have been passed down through the centuries. Today, Aboubacar’s performances represent a lifetime of dedication and passion for the tradition he has inherited. Early in his career he travelled, trained and performed extensively throughout West Africa and for the past 13 years has continued his career as a professional musician in France, leading two well-established bands, engaging in numerous other collaborations and teaching classes for both adults and children in djembe, tamaninkamale ngoni, traditional story and culture. Aboubacar brings an exuberant and contemporary interpretation to the traditional 'griot' art form, combining his masterful command of voice, instrument, rhythm, lyric and fellow musicians into compelling, danceable song sets. During his recent 3 month visit to Melbourne, Aboubacar made many new friends and accepted every invitation to informally jam and make music. He is always seeking new opportunities to share his passion and experience, and desire to expand his own boundaries and potential, in partnership with other musicians and diverse communities. Aboubacar Kouyate would love to connect with you! 

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