Seny Toure - djembe master

Seny Toure was born and raised in Conakry, the melting pot of all the cultures of Guinea and centre of the national Ballets. From a very young age he started playing on tin cans. He would go to celebrations to hear the music. He learned many of the rhythms this way and was known as "Sanban Seny". Sanban is the Susu word for the djembe drum.

At the age of 11 Sanban Seny and his brother Lansana were approached by other locals to play for the neighbourhood ballet. They were preparing for a competition in Conakry in which all neighbourhood ballets would compete. From that moment he went to see the rehearsals of Les Ballets Africains. At first he would be turned away so he would fetch the kindling to make the fire for them to tune their drums, and then he would be allowed to stay. Eventually he endeared himself to them.

Image of Seny Toure

During this time he met many teachers and learned a lot more about the music. He left his family to live among other friends in Gbessia (a suburb of Conakry) who also drummed. He played with many ballets before being recruited by Les Ballets Africains as an accompanist. Eventually he became soloist. Seny stayed with the national ballet for about 20 years and appears on all 3 of their CD releases. Seny also started to paint during this time, a passion which he still has.

After many tours Seny moved to Belgium, where he now teaches, as well as giving workshops abroad. "Because of this instrument - the djembe - you can find lots of friends. I think a lot of my youth when we played and worked together and had fun. These things I try to transmit during class."

Seny also played with Mamady Keita's group, Sewa Kan, and appears on Mamady's CD "Afo". For some time has had his own group "Wonbere" which is a Susu word meaning "Let's have fun!"

He recorded "Dununya Mukolonma" with his childhood drumming friends who all met in America. It was by chance that many of them were there at the time and the rest made the effort to come for the recording of the CD. This chance reunion gave him the title to his CD, which means "In life you never know."