N'faly Kouyate & Dunyakan
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N'faly Kouyate & Dunyakan


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"N'faly Kouyate and Dunyakan"

The second Album from the former Afro-Celt Sound System balafon and kora player from Guinea, treads a sunny, upbeat path through a modern European take on West African music, his sprightly way with tunes producing a set of sings that are easy listening in the best sense of the phrase. Having put together a smart mixed African/ European band (joined by very "authentic" sounding female backing vocalists from Belgium), a whole range of musical styles are tried out, usually underpinned by funky rhythm guitar, percussion and N'faly on kora or balafon and vocals. His voice is smooth without being overly impressive (hence its wise use as additional instrument rather than a focal point) and he gives ample space to the other instrumentalists and singers, allowing tracks like the cance numer Anyafo and the ambitious uptempo reworking of traditional Mandè song: Mali Sadio - here translated rather too literally as "Love Hyppo" - to stake out territory that is neither reliant on traditional norms nor too contrived in its modernity - fRoots

"N'faly Kouyate: Tunya"

N'faly Kouyate was the kora player with the Afro-Celt Sound System, and the Belgian-based Guinean musician takes a similarly wide-ranging approach here.
Kouyate switches between kora and balafon, and the music ranges from the dance beats of "Experience II" to mire traditional high-paced virtuosity. "Kora Ballade" sets the instrument against sawing, mock-baroque strings. A couple of tracks foresear both kora and balafon: "Atipical Conversation" is percussion jam, and "Niyo" is sung acapella. - Financial Times

"N'faly Kouyate"

The call-and response backing vocals are as integral a part of the sound as Kouyate's shimmering kora playing and lightning fast balafon runs." - Rock'n Reel

"N'faly Kouyate: Tunya"

Kouyate's love for strings, choires, electronics and improvisational wig-outs makes Tunya stand out from the pack. - Jazzwise

"N'faly Kouyate: Tunya"

N'faly's lead vocals are suprisingly mellifluous; standout tracks include the gorgeous ballad "Kobiye" and the uptempo African pop of Dubaden. - Songlines

"N'faly Kouyate: Tunya"

N'faly Kouyate steps out with his seconds album condensing his griot traditions and learing into a bold, brave, and unifying album. A master musician and master storyteller: Tunya: simply a masterpiece. - DJ Ritu, A world in London; BBC


Cross Over the World. Tinder. 1995. (Kora,"Mariama"). Compilation.

Planet Flanders. 1997. (Kora, vocal, "Telen"). Compilation.

N’Faly Kouyaté. Dunyakan. Self published, Namun Records, 1996.

Wes Welenga. Wes. Sony, 1996. (Background vocals).

Myrrdin. Ars Celtica. 1997. (Kora).

N’Toman Keita. N’Dania. 1997. (Kora, backing vocals).

Alan Stivell. I Douar. Disques Dreyfus, 1998. (Kora).

Chris Joris. Live at Middleheim. De Werf, 1998. (Kora).

Afro Celt Sound System. Volume 2: Release. Realworld, 1999.

Afro Celt Sound System. Volume 3: Further in Time. Realworld, 2001.

N’faly Kouyaté and Dunyakan. N’Na Kandje. Namun Records, 2001.

Afro Celt Sound System. Seed. Realworld, 2003.

Jesse Cook. Nomad. Narada, 2003. (kora).

Robert Plant. Sixty Six to Timbuktu. Atlantic, 2003. (kora)

Afro Celt Sound System. Pod. Real World/Virgin, 2004.

N'faly Kouyaté. Kora Grooves from West Africa. ARC Music, 2004.

Chris Joris. Out of the Night. AZ Productions, 2005.

Afro Celt Sound System. Anatomic. Realworld 2005.

Zap Mama. Ancestry in Progress. Luaka Bop 2005.

Urban Trad. Diama Dén. (single). 2006.

N'faly Kouyaté and Dunyakan. Tunya. Galileo, 2008.



N’faly Kouyaté was born into one of the most celebrated families of griots of the Mandingue,
the region of West Africa encompassing Guinea, Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Burkino Faso. He is one of the sons of Konkoba Kabinet of Siguiri (Republic of Guinea-Conakry). Konkoba is a superior grade of griots. Grade rare (there exist only about three today) He acquired this grade through difficult tests and a perfect mastery of the secrets of vie, and understanding of the occult sciences. At the age of 10, N’faly became a member of the National Brigade of Pioneers of the Republic of Guinea. In the same year, he received the diploma of best artist of the community of Matam in Conakry. At age twelve, he was recruited in the National Children’s Theatre (at the same time as his peers Bâ Cissokho, Prince Diabaté, Sourakata Diabaté...), by the great dancer, choreographer Jeanne Makoké, of the Ballets Africains of Guinée. Several years later, he founded his first orchestral formation with his friends (Fodé Barro, Mamady Kourouma “Tabouley,” Sékouba Kandia, Kaabi Kandia, petit Condé, Doura Barry....) Sponsored by Tabassy Barro, with the name “TABARRO,” and coached by Justin Morel Junio, which gave them, incidentally, the chance to record one of their songs at the National Radio (RTG). But because of their studies and young age, Tabarro would not settle for being a flash in the pan. Then Justin Morel Junior brought about the first international performances of N’faly and other great international artists, like Johnny Copeland, “international blues” (USA), at Conakry.
With the political integration of the arts in Guinéen education, N’faly was very quickly noticed for his spirit of group support, of creativity, of imagination, of respect for the culture, and has always won the esteem of the ensemble of students, as well as the students of the schools he attended., as well as teaching all he represented, and maintaining those ties, like vicepresident or secretary of the arts or of sport, during all his terms at college or high school/lycée. Member of the university troup, he also was sought out by great artists of his country. Several years later, voila, he became the youngest artistic director of the National Theater of Guinée. In that same year, the national direction of culture (in cooperation with the Minister of French Culture, and English as well), gave him a grant to study music processing in England, which helped to make his destiny in Europe. N'faly is a marvelous singer, kora player, storyteller. Formed in the rigorous study of traditional artists of West Africa, he was opened nonetheless very early to universal music
currents (world music, rock, hip-hop, jazz....).
After his brilliant presentation opening for Salif Keïta at Africa Center (London), under the auspices of WOMAD, Real World proposed a concert with their techno group "Afro-Celt Sound System," a concert which permitted him to enter his knowledge and talent and become a complete member of the ensemble, in the company of Simon, James,..... An adventure which gave him occasion to perform on the best world festival stages such as Glastonbury, Dranouter, Mill Street Music Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, WOMAD Australia, Guilford Festival, Festival International of Jazz at Montréal, Festival d'été de Québec, Central Park Summerstage NY..... In 1999, the second cd "Release" from the Afro Celt Sound System, on which N'faly brilliantly participated, was awarded gold disc status in Ireland and a nomination for World Music Grammy in the 42nd Grammy Awards. In 2001, their third cd, "Further in Time," was again nominated for "Best World Music Album" in the Grammy awards