Abdoulaye Diakite

Abdoulaye Diakite

Abdoulaye Diakité (born December 5, 1950) is a djembe master drummer from Tambacounda, Senegal. He studied under djembe legend Suncaru Jara, and later became the lead djembe player of the National Ballet of Senegal for 18 years. Abdoulaye Diakite is a member of the Bamana ethnic group from Mali. The Bamana are a tribe of the Malinke (mainly in Mali and Senegal) who resisted modernization and missionary efforts. The word Bamana means "we won’t join" referring to their refusal to leave their heritage behind and remain true to their ancient beliefs and practices.

Diakite began drumming at the age of seven. Throughout his youth, Diakite was known for his natural ability on the djembe drum. For many years, he studied with his teacher Suncaru Jara in Tambacounda.

At age 16, he played at a festival in Tambacounda that would forever change his life. The Ballet National du Senegal was there looking for a djembe player who sounded like the famous djembefola (djembe player) Dugufana Tarawele. There, they discovered Diakite.

In 1969, Abdoulaye Diakite officially joined the Ballet National du Senegal. For the next 18 years until 1986, he traveled the world as their lead soloist. Upon the completion of his last world tour, Diakite chose to stay in the United States and make his home away from home in Oakland, California.

In the early 1990s, Diakite founded Tambacounda Productions and co-founded the drum and dance company CEEDO, both located in Oakland. Under the Tambacounda Productions label, Diakite has initiated a variety of performances and conferences that educate the public on the music of West Africa. The biggest of these events includes the Tambacounda West African Drum and Dance Camp, which has been held annually in the Bay Area since 1996. The summer camp was the first of its kind and has arguably been an inspiration to the growth and popularity of West African drumming and dancing in the United States.

Read more about Abdoulaye Diakite:  Selected Recordings