The Kennedy Center

Uasuf Gueye


Born in Washington, DC, Uasuf Gueye belongs to a family of Nguewel/Diali, or oral historians and musicians. He began his study and performance of Manding and Wolof music at a very young age. Uasuf is a dynamic djembe and dundun drummer as well as a skilled instrument craftsman. He also plays the 21-key bala, which he learned first with his teacher, Cheick Hamala Diabate and other master artists of the Manding tradition of West Africa. Uasuf has dedicated his life to the task of becoming an ambassador of African culture to the world. The catalyst for such a responsibility is the passion he has for reconnecting those of the African Diaspora to one another. His repertoire ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to contemporary original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs. 

Uasuf has studied in Senegal, West Africa, as well as the United States with master musicians and craftsmen including Medoune Yacine Gueye, Baile Mcknight, Famoro Dioubate, Mahiri F. Keita, and Amadou Kouyate. He has also acted as a teacher’s assistant to Amadou Kouyate at the University of Maryland and Montgomery College.

In addition, Uasuf Gueye also has several years of experience as a skilled teacher, lecturer, and dynamic performer. As a teacher, Uasuf has taught every age group from toddlers to elderly adults. This includes the facilitation of workshops around the world as well as being on staff in several schools. As a lecturer, he has stimulated minds and ignited thought on several accasions which includes conducting a clinic for Professor Larry Watson’s class at Berklee College of Music. Along with being a talented teacher, Uasuf has given exhilarating performances of different kinds. He has had a significant impact in various communities through lecture-demonstrations, providing ambience for eloquent banquets, solo performances, and opening for stars like Patti Labelle.

In addition to his solo work, Uasuf Gueye performs with several groups including Africa Unplugged, Kankouran West African Dance Co., Coyaba Dance Theatre, Proper SKANKS, Farafina Kan, Creative Pandemonium, Urban Afrikan, the Kouyate Family/Memory of African Culture, African American Dance Ensemble, and Sankofa Dance Theatre. His credits include performances at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the Gullah Festival (South Carolina), Dance Africa (DC, Dallas, New York, and Denver), the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), the Lincoln Theatre (Washington, DC), the Scottish Rite Theatre (St. Louis, MO), the Lisner Auditorium (Washington, DC), the Naomi Burton Theatre (Dallas, TX), a cultural exchange tour in Ecuador, South America, and many others.                                               

Watch Past Performances

Video 10/3/2018: Uasuf Gueye

Since beginning his study of West African music at a very young age, Uasuf Gueye has devoted his life to being a cultural ambassador who brings African music and culture to people around the world and connects the African Diaspora. His expansive repertoire encompasses West African traditional music and his own original compositions, many of which combine the rhythmic sounds of West African music with bluesy themes and jazzy riffs.