Company history


African Roots in Wales

The name Mandingue comes from the Mandénka language from the ancient West African empire dating back to the 13th century.  Mandingue refers to music, empire, epoch, culture, and ethnic group. N’famady Kouyaté, the Artistic Director of the company, was born into a griot/djeli family; a West African hereditary bardic tradition where the djeli have a guardianship responsibility for preserving traditional Mandingue culture through the sharing of ancient rhythms, songs, stories, and music.  The Kouyatés have been a significant family of djeli for generations.  N’famady is a direct descendant of the original djeli and is a star of the succession of the Mandingue preserving & sharing its individual identity and also presenting it in new & modern ways. N’famady came to Wales in 2019 and has based himself and his artistic work and practice here in order to build a bridge between the musical culture and heritage of Wales and West Africa. The Successors of the Mandingue Ltd was founded by N’famady and his wife Cathryn in May 2019. Successors is more than a band – it is an ever-evolving team.  N’famady is at its centre as artistic director but the work necessarily involves collaboration, a wide range of projects that are inclusive, welcoming, accessible and invites participants to become part of the ‘Successors’ family – be they an attendee at a dance workshop in Roath, a Mexican guitarist in Texas contributing to a recording, a Malian bass player in Lyon, or a community hall in Bethesda.