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N’famady Kouyaté is a young energetic master musician from Guinea (Conakry), who relocated
to Cardiff (Wales) in 2019. A talented multi-instrumentalist who wowed audiences across the UK
and Ireland during autumn/winter 2019/20 with his modern interpretations of traditional West
African Mandingue songs and rhythms supporting Gruff Rhys on the Pang! album tour.
N’famady’s primary instrument is the balafon – the traditional wooden xylophone, sacred to
West African culture and his family heritage of the griot/djeli. In Guinea he founded ‘Les Héritiers
du Mandingue’ a tradi-modern group that toured extensively in West Africa.
In the UK N’famady has played both as a solo artist and with a full band line up – where his
arrangements are a fusion of Mandingue African with western jazz, pop, indie, and funk
influences provided by an ever-evolving collective of musicians. Instrumentation includes
balafon, keyboards, drumkit, djembe, guitar, bass, kora, doundoun, congas, saxophone,
trumpet, & callabash. N’famady’s performances create amazing atmospheres and vibrations
wherever he goes, and audiences are charmed by his infectious enthusiasm and joy.
N’famady released his first EP in July 2021, recorded in the legendary Rockfield Studios, with a
full band line up, including guest appearances from Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Lisa Jên
Brown (9Bach), and Kliph Scurlock (The Flaming Lips). The EP features mash-ups of traditional
Guinean songs with new Welsh lyrics, modern & traditional instrumentation, played by a
ten-piece band. N'famady has a steadily growing fanbase both in the UK and West Africa.
During the 2020 lockdown N'famady participated in a number of online events including
DarloDrum Fest, Ara Deg festival online, Out Of Focus Wales, and Gwyl 2021 festival - but due
to COVID-19 restrictions was only able to do solo sets. N'famady did play one pop up (socially
distanced) gig with a full band line up, plus special guest Gruff Rhys, as part of Butetown
Carnival in Cardiff Bay in September 2020. The Summer of 2021 however saw the band
performing at the Wales Millennium Centre, Llangollen Fringe Festival, and taking Green Man
Festival by storm headlining the Chai Wallah stage. The summer of 2022 brought N’famady to
dozens of festival stages across the UK and Northern Ireland, including Cambridge Folk Fest
and Belfast Mela. In October and November of 2022 he embarked on his first nationwide tour of
the UK, with generous support from PRS Foundation’s prestigious Momentum grant.