Sayon playing joyously at a fete in Simbaya Gare, Conakry, Guinea

Sayon playing joyously at a fete in Simbaya Gare, Conakry, Guinea

Sayon Camara is an extremely talented djembefola with an intimate knowledge of the music for all the drums of the Malinke culture and an impeccable sense of time.

Whether experiencing Sayon as a teacher or performer in classes, at workshops, celebrations, schools or other events, Sayon will take you places in drumming and traditional Guinean music that you didn’t know were possible and will do so with contagious joy.

He is comfortable teaching and performing in any setting, for adults and children (whom he is wonderful with!) alike. He has been instructing workshops and classes in Guinea for fifteen years as well as being sought after for many celebratory occasions, both private and public. He has experience working with people from all walks of life, from many different countries.

In 1996, Sayon was introduced to and began playing music with the master djembe player, Famoudou Konate, whom he worked with intensively for the next eight years. In 2002 he was invited to Chicago with his long time friend, Nansady Keita, as an artist to teach and perform traditional Malinke music with the Chicago Djembe Project. Since then he has traveled to Japan six times to teach workshops there, as well as hosting workshops for Japanese drummers in Conakry, Guinea and Kouya Sidia, his home village, Kouroussa, Guinea.

In addition to his first CD, Sayon Barana, Sayon is working on a second CD, Nyenema. Prior to producing his own CDs, Sayon played on five of Famoudou Konate’s CDs, world renowned djemebefola from Guinea and Sayon’s teacher for eight years.


Sayon playing at Dembadon Fete
Sayon playing at Dembadon fete.

Sayon was born in the village of Kouya Sidia in Kouroussa in central Guinea. His parents gave him a very loving upbringing, instilling him with honesty, compassion and wisdom as he grew up with his siblings in the wonderful commune of Guinean society.

As a young boy he hunted and played with his friends. At the age of seven his father, an accomplished djembe player, gifted him a with djembe. This altered the course of his life and his hands have not left the djembe since.

After drumming in the village for 31 years while cultivating rice and working for a brief period in the diamond mines, Sayon left his village as a master djembefola, to work in Conakry with the world’s foremost djembe player, Famoudou Konate. When Famoudou heard him play he was amazed by the clarity of the sound Sayon produced on the djembe. For the next eight years, Sayon worked intensively with Famoudou Konate, teaching at his workshops, and playing at his concerts and on his CDs. Eventually Sayon began leading other workshops for people from all over the world, both in Guinea and Japan, and has become a sought after musician to play for various occasions such as marriages, naming ceremonies, traditional festivals of all kinds, and even political events, with his ensemble of drummers and dancers.

Because of the wonderful foundation his parents gave him and because of his open nature, you will find Sayon’s musical performance, which includes the traditional song, music (rhythm), and dance of the Malinke people, to be respectfully infused with the gentle, electrifying warmth of pure joy.

Sayon has recently made his home in Vermont in the United Sates where he conducts classes to students of all ages, in the Malinke musical tradition, as well as conducting workshops and performances around the world. For the first time, we are blessed, in Northeast America, to have ongoing access to the direct knowledge he stewards, as a Guinean dedicated to gifting the music of his native culture to others.

© Copyright, 2015 Sayon Camara Drumming LLC

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