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Our Guides / Nos Guides
Jeli Mamady Kouyaté, Jeli Famoro Dioubaté  et  Anthropologue Lisa Feder

Mamady "Djeliké" Kouyaté

Jeli Mamady "Djeliké" Kouyaté is an expert in Manding history. He was born in Douako village in Guinea. He was a practicing jeli musician by the age of twelve, but his father encouraged him to further his schooling. After he received a Master's degree in agronomy, Mamady returned to jeli guitar by popular demand and played in the Guinean Orchestre National as well as in the world-famous Bembeya Jazz National. He is now an American citizen living in the New York metropolitan area where he is band leader of the Afro-Jazz ensemble, Mandingo Ambassadors.


To learn more about his band, click here: Mandingo Ambassadors or watch the video above. 

Jeli Mamady Kouyaté est né dans le village de Douako en Guinée. À l'âge de douze ans, il était musicien djeli actif, mais son père l'a encouragé à poursuivre ses études. Après avoir obtenu une maîtrise en agronomie, Mamady est revenu à la demande de la guitare djeli et a joué à l'Orchestre National guinéen ainsi qu'au Bembeya Jazz National, de renommée mondiale. Il est maintenant citoyen américain et vit dans la région métropolitaine de New York où il est le chef du groupe de musique Afro-Jazz Mandingo Ambassadors.


Lisa Feder, Ph.D was born in New York City and has a degree in Anthropology from Cornell University. She is a specialist of griot/jeli culture and in teaching cross-culturally. She has been working with Mamady and Famoro since 2006. Her book, Jeliya at the Crossroads describes her experiences learning from this ancient culture. Lisa has been living in France since 2015 where she continues her research and develops programs for learning abroad.


In 2015 Lisa founded the Fieldschool for Ethnographic Sensibility in Serbia based on her methodology called Transformative Ethnography.


Lisa Feder a un doctorat en anthropologie de l'université Cornell, New York. Elle est spécialiste de la culture et la musique griotte. Elle travaille avec Mamady depuis 2006. Son prochain livre, Douceur, temps et argent: Jeliya à l’ère du mondialisme (2020) décrit ses expériences dans l’apprentissage de cette culture ancestrale. Lisa habite actuellement en France depuis 2015 où elle continue ses sa recherche et elle produit des concerts et filmes sur les djelis mandingues. 


Famoro Diouabté is recognized as one of West Africa’s most talented balafonists. Hailing from Conakry, Guinea, Famoro comes from a long family lineage of griots (or jeli in Malinké), African oral historians and musicians who played in the royal courts since the 13th century. The balafon is a 23-key wooden xylophone in diatonic scale, crafted by hand in the Guinean countryside.

     On his father’s side, Famoro descends from the prestigious Dioubaté family of the Kankan region, in Guinea. On his mother’s side, he descends from the great Kouyaté family, the first jeli family named by the great emperor Soundiata Keita in 1235 CE. His maternal great-uncle, the late El Hadj Djeli Sory Kouyaté, was one of the world’s most renowned Manding balafonists and jeli to the former president Sekou Touré. With this pedigree, Famoro was one of the youngest to play in the national Ensemble Instrumental de Guinée. But quickly, he was swept up to play internationally, first in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, followed by Australia, Fiji, Europe, Canada, and ultimately in the United States, where he has made his home for the past 23 years. Famoro teaches balafon to Americans and Europeans and is the band leader of Kakande. 

Our guides speak French and English as well as other languages. 

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