Mandingo Ambassadors bring Afro-jazz to UNCA


The Mandingo Ambassadors will bring the sounds of Afro-jazz and dance music from Guinea to UNC Asheville for a three-day residency, culminating in a concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 in Lipinsky Auditorium.

“The music of the Mandingo Ambassadors has been structured to make you feel good,” a New York Times reviewer wrote.

The band was founded by guitarist Mamady Kouyaté, who comes from the Kouyaté family of griots, the oral historians and praise singers of West African culture. Kouyaté got his start among the Guinean dance bands of the 1970s and formed the Mandingo Ambassadors decades later in New York City.

The Mandingo Ambassadors’ album, "Radio NYC – Live at WKCR" was selected by public radio’s "Afropop Worldwide" as the number four “Best Africa-in-America” release of 2009. Their live shows in Brooklyn also gained critical acclaim.

Mamady Kouyaté, who formed the Mandingo Ambassadors, got his start among the Guinean dance bands of the 1970s.

UNCA’s student Afropop Ensemble will open for the Mandingo Ambassadors at the March 30 concert. Tickets are available online and at the door - $15 general admission; $10 for OLLI at UNC Asheville members and university alumni, $5 for faculty and staff and free for UNCA students.

The Mandingo Ambassadors will also offer two free public master classes during their residency: Guinean Guitar, Fulani Flute at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 in Lipinsky Hall room 018; and Authenticité: Traditional Melodies, Historical Forces, Modern Sounds at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 in Humanities Lecture Hall.

For more and to purchase tickets, visit