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Biography

Billy Nankouma Konaté, born in 1977 in Conakry/Guinea, son of great djembeföla Famodou Konate, already started playing the traditional Malinke music at the age of 7. All he was wishing for was to become a great, wellknown djembeföla, all his love was dedicated to music. He followed his dream and was educated by his father for years on the traditional „fêtes“ Malinkes.

From 1987 on, he was passing two years in the village „Sangbarala“, where he went with his mother. Here he was learning a lot about the culture and certainly the music of his people. Then he went back to Conakry where he continued his education with his father on the traditional „fêtes“.

In the 1991 film „Djembé-Föla“ by Mamady Keita, he was playing when Mamady and Famoudou met. In 1993, he created the ballet „Hamana Sabougnouma“ under his leadership. It was a traditional ballet to the members of which Billy was also giving dance and percussion lessons and which already was doing a tour in the different regions of Guinea.

Having been to Europe for the first time in 1996, he come back every year to teach people attending his workshops and to give concerts in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy etc.


2002 till 2004, he was living with his family in Marburg, Germany, where he still works as a teacher at „LaPercussion“, part of the „TamTamMandingue“ association. Since 2004, he is living in Dudenhofen near Speyer where he gives continuous lessons.

In wintertime, Billy offers his workshops in Guinea and visits his village. In 2004, he finished building his own percussion school „KONATEKOUNDA“ in “Yembeya”,a quarter of Conakry, so that his workshops will take place there from now on.

In 2002, Billy was playing djembé and doundouns for his father Famoudou when they did a tour across Europe with the ensemble „Hamana Föli Kan“. Same in 2004, when he joined Famoudou and his ensemble again for another tour across Europe and Japan.

Billy was involved in all of his father´s CDs and in 2003, he released his first own CD „Saboule Möyala N´Wölobalou Kobarika„. In mai 2004, he released his second cd, "M´Badakan", 2006 followed the 3. cd: “Iniké Papa”. 2008, Uschi Billmeier produced the cd “Siyra Manden Mansa”. The benefit of this cd will be taken to finance his project in Guinea: a school where the children learn traditionel music from Guinea without paying for it. When Billy isn´t in guinea, he finances another teacher to educate the young musicians.

In 2008, he joined some Germans and the started another project to help the Guineen children: they collect money to build a new rooms in the school of Sangbarala and to finance the teachers there. Each children should be able to go to school without paying, so they can have a better future.

Billy Nankouma Konaté is one of the most remarkable African percussionists of his generation. He knows how to bring home Malinke culture to people professionally.