Article in the Bisbee Observer
Nov. 2006


Amadou Kienou              
Bisbee welcomed master Djembe player, Amadou Kienou to Club Kilimanjahro this month.  I'm happy to report that his Saturday evening performance on November 11th and his workshops on the following Sunday were well attended and equally well received. 

Mister Kienou is from Quagadougou, in the small West African country of Burkina Faso.  As a folk musician, a griot, he performs traditional rhythms and songs, which were taught to him by his father, Baba Kienou.  Amadou began his studies at age 3 and has been playing for 30 years.  Speaking in German (as well as French and a little English) through an interpreter, he explained that his mission was to preserve and share the oral traditions of his home by performing and teaching where ever he could.  In furtherance of that mission, he has toured throughout Africa, Europe, Latin America and the United States. With equal parts passion, playfulness, and intensity, Amadou Kienou shared his mastery with an enthralled crowd at his performance; he played intricate rhythms with lightning speed, thunderous power and nuanced subtlety on the Djembe (a traditional wooden drum that is covered with goatskin) and sang beautiful folksongs with his powerful and stirringly soulful voice.  He encouraged total audience participation: dancing; clapping and call-and-response singing.  He informed his audience that where he comes from, everyone performs, no one is passive.  We were all glad to honor his culture with our participation.             

The clinics he conducted on the following day were immensely informative and every bit as fun.  Amadou explained that while he loved performing, it was the clinics that allowed him to truly teach the Djembe (and the accompanying drums) properly.  Participants in those clinics were extremely fortunate to learn from such a capable and caring master player. Special thanks go to Bernd and Lorin of Arizona Drum and Dance in Phoenix for presenting Mr. Kienou.       

by David Resto