Yakou Daniel N'Guessan

Drummer

Biography

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Dapo Dina

Dapo Dina is an international jazz pianist, and composer hailing from Nigeria. His energetic and mindful compositions celebrate the fusion of cosmopolitan ideas with Afrikan spirituality. His work defines a concept music that incorporates Afroism into Jazz.

Dapo Dina grew up in a musical household where his love for the art began. His family relocated from Nigeria to South Africa to start a new life. Initially trained as a classical pianist, Dapo discovered a greater Jazz culture there and was inspired to master his skills as a jazz pianist. Dapo said “he decided to create his own style of music, defined as Yoruba Jazz”. Drawing on his influences from Herbie Hancock, Richard Bona, Danilo Perez, and Chick Corea encouraged his new journey. Dapo worked with internationally renowned jazz artists such as Danilo Pérez, Judith Sephuma, Pops Mohammed, Jimmy Dludlu, George Duke, Jonathan Butler, and Themba Mkhize. Moreover, he has crossed genre lines and worked with pop and gospel artists such as Lira, Uche, KB, Lagbaja, Kunle Ayo, HHP, Revolution, Thandiswa, Lulu, and Sleek Angel. Dapo also performed at various festivals such as the Joy of Jazz Festival in South Africa and graduated to the global scene.

Eventually Dapo had an opportunity to move to Berlin, Germany. There he played at mainstream venues such as b-flat and Werkstatt der Kulturen which ultimately inspired his world music sound.  

His desire to come to the US was inspired by someone informing him while on a flight- “he cannot call himself a true jazz musician unless he performed in New Orleans”.

Currently residing in Atlanta, GA Dapo has released his 2nd CD “Radio Play” a great testimony of Dapo Dina’s African roots and performing on the world stage. The compositions are effervescent and vibrant, celebrating diversity in music, life and culture, with a stunning blend of styles and ideas.

Dapo’s compositions and playing draw on influences from many sides, yet not forgetting the spiritual and artistic wealth derived from belonging.

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Yakou N’Guessan is an internationally known jazz drummer, composer, and producer from the Ivory Coast. Influenced by the unique tribal languages of his native country, he blends jazz and African beats to form World Music. N’Guessan’s mother sang in the church choir and his father was an avid jazz fan. He began playing the drums at church at 7. By the age of 15 he was earning money as a drummer.  N’Guessan’s love for music led him to pursue a master’s in musicology from the Institut National Superieur des Arts et de l’Action Culturelle (INSAAC) in Abidjan.

N’Guessan shared, “groove, musicality and, creativity are what attracts him to the likes of drummers Paco Sery, Antionio Sanchez, Robert Searight II, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, and Vinnie Colaiuta”. He is also inspired by John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Pat Metheny, and Herbie Hancock.

N’Guessan’s debut performance as a jazz drummer was at the Nandjelet Palace in Abidjan with the Dodo Ahoco Fusion. This catapulted him to devote himself to jazz exclusively while being open to other musical styles. His eclectic jazz drumming style led him to a large jazz project, L’emoi du Jazz which afforded N’Guessan the grand opportunity to consort and perform with world-famous jazz musicians Russel Gun, Lionel Giles Louéké, Paco Séry, and Adou Azouhounin.

Eventually N’Guessan was extended an invitation to perform in Morocco and spent a decade there playing jazz and teaching. His most notable accomplishment in Morocco was his participation in a jazz festival organized by the King of Morocco and N’Guessan played with international luminaries such as Quincy Jones and George Benson.

Family affairs and a desire to gain greater notoriety as a professional drummer led Yakou to the US. Within a year of moving to Atlanta, GA, N’Guessan proved yet again he is a formidable, talented drummer through his ability to network and cement his place as a world class drummer in his new surroundings. After such a brief period of arriving in the US; his vast connections and respectability as a fellow musician afforded him the opportunity to book various musicians to perform weekly at a local venue, formerly “The Federal Coffee”, currently operating as “Ground and Pound”.   Further his latest projects include performing as a drummer on BET “Boomerang” series and Netflix’s “Ozark”.

 

Currently working on his album and performing in venues and festivals around Atlanta and New Orleans, Yakou N’Guessan is steadily cementing his style in the music scene.

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