Famoudou Konate was born in 1940 in Manina in the region of Hamanah in Upper Guinea. He began playing at community festivals at the age of 8 years and was quickly known as a djembefola across the region.
In 1959, when he was 19 years old, he was recruited by Les Ballets Africains, the national ballet of Guinea, with whom he traveled the world for 26 years. He played dununba, sangban, kenkeni and djembe solo, as well as dancing. During this time he created many musical arrangements that are now considered classics among West African performing groups.
In 1987, three years after the end of the Marxist regime, he was invited to Germany by a connoisseur, Johannes Beer, to give workshops and concerts. In 1996 he received an honorary title as Professor of Didactic Practice of African Music at the University of the Arts, Berlin.
Famoudou is considered by his peers as one of the greatest master drummers of the Malinke ethnic group. He is one of the few to know many traditional polyrhythms, phrasing and solos that accompany them.
He helped to lift the djembe from its traditional roots to worldwide popularity. Famoudou has continuous contact with his country, despite his busy tour schedule, and brings students from around the world to Sangbarala, Guinea, every year.
Considered an excellent teacher and specialist of the dununba rhythms, his courses are in high demand. He teaches the rhythms and songs of his country and demonstrates the dances and traditions as well as using humour to deepen his students' understanding.
Famoudou has an extraordinarily varied and effective, elegant yet simple playing style, which is very melodic.
Here are some of the best Famoudou Konate videos on the web, and discussions of them.