About Nansady Keita

Nansady Keita was born in the village of Sangbaralla in Guinea, West Africa, where centuries-old rhythms and songs are part of the fabric of daily life. He began playing traditional Malinké music at a very young age, first using a tin can as a djembe and a water container as a dunun. Nansady studied intensively with djembe-master Djoumeh Camara from the age of 8 and eventually progressed to lead djembe-fola (djembe player) in Sangbaralla. The village is located in the country's Hamana region, where the djembe orchestra and the powerful Dunun (Dance of the Strong Man) rhythms were born.

Nansady spent twenty years immersed in the traditional repertoire of Malinké music that accompanies community festivals, celebrations, rights-of-passage and agricultural activities in his village. His playing was in demand across the region when his uncle, world-renowned Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté, heard him playing on a recording a local had made. Famoudou then invited Nansady to the capital city of Conakry to perform with his ensemble, while teaching visiting students from the United States, Europe, Japan and elsewhere.


In 2002 and 2004, Nansady performed as second soloist with Famoudou's group "Hamana Foli Kan" on concert tours of Europe and Japan. Nansady appears as a soloist, accompanist and dunun-fola on five of Famoudou Konaté's CDs, all of which have received global acclaim.

Nansady's tremendous knowledge of Malinké rhythms, clarity of tone and dynamic musicianship have solidified his position as one of the next great djembe-folas to emerge from West Africa. In recent years, he has completed his own workshop and performance tours of North America, Europe, Scandinavia and Japan. Nansady is a skilled and patient teacher with an engaging sense of humor and warm, abundant laughter that immediately put both experienced and novice students at ease.

In 2006, the Music Worldwide Inter-cultural Music Consultancy invited Nansady to the UK, where he spent seven years living and touring the world.   He performed at major world-music events in Great Britain, including WOMAD, Drum Camp, The Tribe of Doris Intercultural Summer School, The African Drum Village Festival in Scotland and played on the motion-picture soundtrack for Warner Bros. Blood Diamond. Nansady was also the subject of a documentary film on black and minority ethnic (BME) individuals in the UK entitled That's Why I Love It. He has released two CDs, Farabina Sangbaralla (2010) and Hamana Kalu (2008).  

 

In 2010 - 2013 Nansady toured annual in Canada and the United States working with Helen Bond. To date he continues to travel the world and was in China most recently.  He also has taught classes in Guinea to Helen Bond's visiting friends and students (2016 - present).  In 2020, he became the Music Director for Motherland Rhythm Community's Benkadi Project and continues to share his love of his music.

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