African drummer Baye Kouyate pounding out a unique beat in South Tampa
For Baye Kouyate, a drum is more than a musical instrument. It’s a tool for communication.
“The beat comes from the heart,” he says, explaining that a drummer can express his feelings through the sounds of his instrument.
A native of the African nation Mali, Kouyate (pronounced bye koo-YE-tay), is what is known as a “griot,” a caste of West African storytellers and musicians. Kouyate, 34, has told stories and spread the sounds of his homeland throughout the world, from Africa to Europe and the United States.
He opened a new South Tampa studio, dubbed Yum Yum Drums, this month with the help of his wife, Annette Saldaña. He hopes to pass on his knowledge of drumming and a piece of his cultural heritage to the Tampa community.
“However much you give, that’s how much you can get back,” he said. “I have toured everywhere and I have lived everywhere. I can learn something from each of them and give back.”
For more on Kouyate, click here to read Dan Sullivan's story.
Photo: Atoyia Deans, tbt*