Djialy Kunda Kouyate

(2006)

Two years after moving to Humboldt County, I got a call from ASSANE KOUYATE, a young Senegalese singer. Together with his twin brother OUSEYNOU KOUYATE & cousin MOHAMMED KOUYATE, they were looking for a guitar player. DJIALY KUNDA KOUYATE had recorded an album years previous with RON VAN LOURDE in Oakland, CA. I knew Ron as the guitarist from ZULU SPEAR, a band that had shared many gigs with The RHYTH-O-MATICS in the late 80's. The Twins wanted to put together a live band to play the material from that album. They already had a band started in Humboldt; PABLO ROTTER on drums, KENNET LAWRENCE on bass, and TIM RANDLES on keyboards. KARAMBA DIOUBOUTE was a frequent guest on djembe and/or balafon, and MALICK DIALLO BAH on ngone.    

  TIM RANDLES and I produced the album "En Amerique" with DJIALY KUNDA KOUYATE at BONGO BOY STUDIO, and I engineered it. The band played together for a little more than two years, playing local events like The Arcata Farmer's Market, The North Country Fair, Redwood Music Festival, and traveling several times to the San Francisco Bay Area to play Ashkenaz in Berkeley. We also played The INDEPENDENT in San Francisco with CELA & THE AFROBEAT EXPLOSION to a sold-out show and a few shows for African organizations. A number of African musicians were added to the roster at the bigger shows and for the African organizations; numerous talking drum and djembe players, a kora player, ngone players, extra keyboards, and a young guitar player at a couple of shows. BADA SECK, sabar player for BAABA MAAL, joined the group very briefly, but there was an ego clash with the twins, so that was short-lived.

     ASSANE KOUYATE eventually left Humboldt County, and Ken, Tim, and I joined BADA SECK briefly, then we formed ORCHESTRA Du MONDE to support THE LION CAMP at EARTHDANCE 2007, featuring JAH SUN, RAS ATTITUDE, RAS BATCH,  & ISHI DUBE.

Mazotti's Hip Hop Festival Story

 

During my stint with Djialy Kunda Kouyate, there was a rapper named Pete Collins a.k.a. M C Manifest, who had befriended Assane Kouyate. In a very odd pairing (Assane being a Muslim), Tim Randles, Ken Lawrence, Pablo Rotter and I would back Pete for a PG version of his rap as an opening act ahead of the band's set. Pete even went to Senegal with the band when I didn't go. Pete was personable, and always seemed jacked.

      Pete was promoting a Hip Hop event for Humboldt artists at Mazzotti's restaurant on the plaza in Arcata, CA. The event involved about a dozen rappers, and several dance groups competing. Pete asked Tim, Ken, Pablo and I to back all of the rappers and offered us $80 each. The event was a big success; totally packed and sold out, with people waiting for someone to leave so that they could get in. Earlier in the day, Pete had called me in a panic, saying he didn't have a PA for the event because his guy had flaked on him. This is a large place and for Hip Hop, you need it booming. I set Pete up with my friend Steve Watts from Passion Presents, and Steve agreed to provide his massive sound system for half the usual fee, $500.

       So, the band, we're on stage playing for about 5 hours, as we backed all of the individual rappers, and the dance off. At the end of the night, as I was packing up, I overheard Pete telling Steve that he could only pay half of what was agreed, $250. Steve told him that if he, Pete, wanted to walk out of the building, he needed to pay the $500. Pete coughed up the money, and Pete told the band that he'd "catch up to us".

       As it turned out, the night before the event, Pete, his girlfriend and a friend robbed the Cherae Heights Casino of $120,000. The girlfriend distracted a guard on duty, Pete walked in dressed like a security guard picked up the night drop, and the friend, who worked in security for the casino, was supposed to kill the cameras, but all was captured.

      The day after the event, Pete and his girlfriend went to a local car dealership and paid cash for a new car with cash in casino wrappers, saying they had hit the jackpot. Then they split town, only to be caught a few days later, convicted, and from what I heard, did some time. With $120,000 in his pocket, plus the proceeds from the sold out show, he rips off the band. 

     ASSANE KOUYATE eventually left Humboldt County, and Ken, Tim, and I joined BADA SECK briefly, then we formed ORCHESTRA Du MONDE to support THE LION CAMP at EARTHDANCE 2007, featuring JAH SUN, RAS ATTITUDE, RAS BATCH,  & ISHI DUBE.

Follow

©2019 by Jimmy Foot