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Master Drummer Wadaba Performs At Harvest Festival

PRATHER — Mamady ‘Wadaba’ Kourouma is a renowned local musician who lives with his wife, Keio Ogawa, in Three Rivers, California. Wadabe means ‘The Great Panther’, a nickname he was given because of his powerful ‘wild-cat-screaming’ sound on the djembe drum.

Born into a blacksmith family of traditional Malinke drummers and raised in the village of Oroko near Kouroussa, Guinea, he learned from the age of 8, all of his people’s traditional drum music and dances as passed down from his ancestors.

In Wadaba’s culture, the songs and drum rhythms archive the people’s history and can be hundreds of years old.By the age of 10, he began soloing, and by his teen years, had achieved the status as a lead soloist of his village.

In 1993, Wadaba became an apprentice of the legendary djembe master Famoudou Konate. He honed his skills as a drummer under the tutelage of Konate and also learned how to build drums.

Since then he has toured in Germany, Japan and the U.S., teaching and performing with other djembe masters and with his own group, Annye Ben.

Wadaba was a 2008 International Music Awards finalist for Best World Music Album with his Sabari CD. He has recorded other CD’s as well and presently teaches drumming, builds drums and performs throughout the world.

In 2001, Wadaba and Keio were headed to his home village to record his first solo CD when they learned that the village had burned down. They created the ‘Oroko Fund’ to raise awareness and money to help rebuild the village.

Through the fund, they are able to send school and medical supplies, clothing, food and new drums as well as other necessities to the village. Recently, a second clean well was drilled in the village with Oroko Fund funds.

Keio Ogawa, Wadaba’s wife, is a performer and teacher in her own right, having studied drumming and world percussion for over 30 years. She has performed around the world and founded the Traditional West African Drum Ensemble and the Drum Dance Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to making traditions of drum and dance available to the community and to local schools.

Keio teaches drumming and traditional dance, and focuses on authentic technique, history and lore about the instruments she uses. She will be leading traditional dance lessons during the second half of Wadaba’s performance at the Twentieth Annual Harvest Arts & Peace Festival at Intermountain Nursery on Saturday, October 13th at 1pm.

The festival runs the entire weekend, Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact the nursery at 855-3113 or check out the web site at

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