Famoro Dioubate

Famoro Dioubate
Famoro Dioubaté's Kakande in NYC
  • country:USA
  • region:New York City
  • style(s):Afro, Manding
  • label:Manding Grooves
  • type:Band, Solo, Small Ensemble, Quartet, Quintet
  • gender:male
  • instrumentation:dance orchestra, unplugged
  • artist posted by:Manding Grooves

Line up

  • Kakande (Balafon, Guitar, Bass, Drumset, Vocals, Sax, Kora)


Famoro Dioubaté is recognised as one of West Africa’s most talented and graceful balafonists. Hailing from Conakry, Guinea, Famoro comes from a long family lineage of griots (or jeli in Malinké), African oral historians and musicians, a sub-culture dating back to the 13th century. The balafon is a 23-key wooden xylophone in diatonic scale, crafted by hand in the Guinean countryside. The music forms delightful, looping cross-rhythmic melodies that shift shapes as Famoro emphasises different notes.

Famoro's balafon style is primarily traditional, and mixes well with everything from a classical duo to jazz band, to electronic. What makes him stand out from the rest is his absolute confidence and utter grace in his playing style. The way he delicately, yet firmly places the notes around the (often unplayed) beat, is mesmerising.

His band, Kakande, takes this traditional music and turns it into Dance Band with a deep soul. People can't help but to move their bodies to Kakande.

Famoro's Background

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 Hajd 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 makes his home.

Based in New York City for the past 23 years, Famoro mixes this profound and sacred West African musical tradition with some of the hottest musicians in New York today. His dance band, Kakande, plays regularly in Harlem at the Shrine World Music Café as well as in festivals throughout the city. Famoro has played with world-famous Mory Kanté, Angelique Kidjo, and other African stars, and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Joe’s Pub, and museums and universities across the country.