Amadou Kouyate is the 150th generation of the Kouyate family of Manding Diali (oral historians/musicians of West Africa) and the first generation born of his father’s lineage in America. Amadou performs a musical montage on the 21-string Kora, and rhythmic presentations on Djembe and Koutiro drums. His repertoire ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to contemporary original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs. In addition to his solo work, Amadou Kouyate performs with his world rock ensemble Proper SKANKS, Amadou Kouyate Ensemble, the international duo project WEEDOU Everything! and Memory of African Culture. Amadou has worked extensively with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble, Farafina Kan and Kankouran West African Dance Company. Some of his credits include performances at The Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, The NAMM Show, Bristol Academy and Isle of Whyte (England), Tim Festival (Brazil), Petronio Alvarez Afro-Colombian Festival (Colombia), Garvey Festival (Costa Rica), Lowell, Baltimore Rhythm Festival, East-Lansing and Dayton National Folk Festivals, Harrisonburg International Festival, Intersections Festival (DC), DanceAfrica DC, Atlanta and Chicago, with The National Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, National Geographic, The Creative Alliance and the Victoria World Rhythm Festival. Amadou has worked on various film and video game scores, and has presented and lectured at over 30 colleges and university institutions worldwide. Amadou received the Maryland Start Arts Council Governor’s Citation, The Maryland Master/ Apprentice Award and other artistic awards from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Special Talents and Musical Theatre Scholarships at Howard University and Levine School of Music. In his traditional scholarship, Amadou has studied in Mali, Senegal, Guinea and The Gambia with master musicians of the Djali tradition including Djimo Kouyate and Toumani Diabate. Thus far, Amadou having an illustrious career as both a performer and educator. He was an Adjunct Lecturer of African Music and Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, and director of the African Drum Ensemble, and Artist-In-Residence at Montgomery College of Rockville, and is now working at Goucher College and UMBC. Amadou an alum of the distinguished Artist In Residence program at the renowned Strathmore Music Center, and a teaching artist at the Wolftrap Organization for the Performing Arts, and continues to present to audiences around the world.
Sidney Hopson is a percussionist, writer, composer, educator, and Southern California native.
He has performed for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Jacaranda Chamber
Ensemble, Southeast Symphony, Soulful Symphony (Washington DC), Ensemble FIRE (NYC), the Los Angeles, Los Robles, and Pasadena Master Chorales, Opera Santa Barbara, members of the Echo Society, and musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra. He has performed annually at the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra (Charleston, SC) since 2011. In 2014, his composition Color Reels II was featured in Spoleto’s Intermezzi Chamber Music Series.
In 2016, Sidney made his Lincoln Center Debut in the opera Paradise Interrupted by composer Huang Ruo. He has performed in premieres of works by John Williams, Philip Glass, John Corigliano, Morten Lauridsen, Steve Reich, Peter Eötvös and Kaija Saariaho. Additionally, he has performed and recorded with a wide range of commercial artists, including: Danny Elfman, Stevie Wonder, Craig Robinson, Rihanna, Burt Bacharach, Ricky Martin, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin, Lamont Dozier, Dave Koz, Monica Mancini, Patrice Rushen, David Benoit, and Brian Wilson. He can be seen on-screen and heard on over 100 film and television soundtracks from Fox TV’s GLEE to the cult horror film The Caretaker. Recent projects include Illumination’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Men In Black: International, Castle Rock (Hulu), and Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix). Sidney attended Long Beach City College before transferring to the University of Southern California where he became a 3-time alumnus (B.M., G.C., M.M.). He is an alumnus of the American Youth Symphony and Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. In fall 2015, he joined the faculty of Long Beach City College. Additionally, he is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Southern California and Mount Saint Mary’s College. Formerly, he served as the director of percussion at the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), and the Harvard-Westlake School. He has taught masterclasses at colleges and high schools nationwide. Students from his private studio have been accepted to the orchestral and jazz percussion programs at USC, UCLA, NYU, CalArts, Berkeley College of Music, Westmont College, UC Riverside, CSU Northridge, and San Diego State University.