Demos by Gino Gamboa, Weedie Braimah and Chalo Eduardo
Artist biography Mamady Ke├»ta
Mamady Ke´ta is a master drummer from the West African nation of Guinea. He specializes in the hand drum called djembe and is considered one of the world's foremost performers of this instrument. He is also the founder of the Tam Tam Mandingue school of drumming. He is a member of the Manding ethnic group.
Ke´ta was born in the small village of Balandugu, Guinea, near the border of Mali. His initiation to the djembe started at the early age of seven, under Karinkadjan KondÚ, elder Djembefola (master djembe player) of Balandugu. Ke´ta was educated in the traditions of his village, and initiated into the history and music of the Manding people. At the age of twelve, he became a member of the first regional federal ballet of Siguiri after Balanka Sidiki.
In 1964 Ke´ta left Balandugu to become a member of the Djoliba Ballet, in which he served as lead drummer and soloist until 1979. In 1979, Ke´ta became the artistic director of the troupe, a position he held until 1986. During his time, he went on numerous tours throughout the world, performing in West, Central, and East Africa, China, Egypt, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.
In 1986, Ke´ta joined Souleymane Koli's troupe, Koteba, in Abidjan, and he stayed with it for a year and a half.
In 1991, Ke´ta decided it was time to go his own way and he established his own percussion school which he called Tam Tam Mandingue, literally "drums of the Manding." The school rapidly acquired international renown and opened branches in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States. In Belgium alone, the school has over 300 students from the beginner to the professional levels.
Nowadays, Ke´ta resides in San Diego, California, United States, with his wife Monette Marino-Ke´ta.