Skip to main content
 Zé Kouyaté

Zé Kouyaté

Research student,


Zé Aruanã Kouyaté (Gaio), a musician, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter is an AHRC South West and Wales Doctoral Training Program scholarship winner. PhD candidate at Cardiff, Bath Spa and Bristol Universities, his performance-based research focus on the musical transmission and transformation of a recent musical invention from Mali and Burkina-Faso, the West African harp kamalengoni. The research adopts Brazilian frameworks as an intercultural approach to investigate how musicians create outstanding performative strategies to elevate a piece of art-work to a high professional degree of competence. He believes that cross-cultural methods in research is a powerful conduit to trace disrupted ancestral transatlantic ties between the music of Africa and Brazil. His interests are processes in which identity and its multitude of meanings manifest through musical performance, creative strategies granting emerging musical inventions to exist as a tradition and the relationship between both tradition and technology in a musical context. 

Brazilian Latin Grammy winner Fundo de Quintal group, Clareou Group and artists like Reinldo, Ferrugem amongst others continue to record his compositions in Brazil. In the UK he is the founder of the acclaimed 2012 Arts Council winner project Clube do Choro UK in London. He performed, recorded and collaborate with artists like jazz piano player Darius Brubeck (US), singer and kamalengoni player Harouna Samake (Mali), sax player Dr Barak Schmool (UK), bass player Domas Aleska (Lithuania) and singer and actor Thiago Thomé (Brazil), composer Carlos Caetano (Brazil) and cavaquinho player Dr. Henrique Cazes (Brazil). Having submitted his thesis he is currently preparing to do his final PhD performance, lecture-recital and viva examination.



The Tradition of Invention: The Kamalengoni Harp in Mali and Burkina Faso

Funding source