The Full Story
Sekou Tepaka Lunda Conde, respected worldwide as a performer, educator, historian, folklorist, percussionist, recording artist and business owner.
Throughout his life, he has placed himself as a relentless student of traditional Malinke culture, history, values and folklore. His studies are steeped in apprenticeships with many of the greats of his homeland Africa and America. Starting with Muntu Dance Theatre in 1978, with intense training in the art of West African drumming and culture. His West African drumming education placed him at the feet of many masters, beginning with Babu Atiba and Moshe Milon of Muntu Dance Theatre, on to Grand Master teachers as Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konate, Abdoul Doumbiya, Moussa Traore, Laurent Camara and Babara Bangoura. Sekou draws off of the power and teachings of them all. Together the teachings were a remarkable force that gave him a well rounded approach to the djembe and an extensive insight into the musical culture of the Mandingue. Sekou is tremendously humbled by the knowledge imparted on him by these Master drummers and djembe players. The teachings given to him have been his inspiration to remain humble, consistently studious and the fortitude to preserve the ancient Djembe musical culture.
Early in his career, he produced 6 original recordings of classical arrangements drawn from his West African roots, performing with Memphis’s Nubian Dance Company and New Orleans’s Zulu Connection. During his time in the South, Conde reached out to those in search of their cultural identity, yearning to learn about Africa through the rich legacy of music, song and dance: He co-founded Memphis’s Bamana African Drum and Dance Ensemble and established the first Djembe school in the south entitled "Djembekan School of Percussion".
In 2006 Sekou toured with Legends of West Africa, a tour created by his uncle Mammoudou Conde, Laura Rich and Matthew Mueller (RIP). After returning to Chicago from tour Sekou created Seneke West African Percussion Ensemble, which comprised of many of Chicago’s most skilled artists.
In 2007 Conde toured Canada with NIMBAYA! Formerly known as Amazones Women Master Drummers, founded and managed by his uncle Mamoudou Conde. NIMBAYA being the first all African Women drum and dance company of Guinea West Africa.
In 2012 Sekou became a resource coordinator where his dedication to the arts and education served the community with programs that enriched the educational and artistic vitality of hundreds of children.
Furthermore in 2013 Conde launched “Kafolike School of Percussion” a 501c3 non-for profit organization in Chicago and Kansas City KS to educate children and adults in the culture, history, folklore , technique and ethics of West African music. In addition Conde wrote his first book entitled "Kafolike" which teaches rhythms and history based on the curriculum of his percussion school.
In 2015 Sekou became Program manager for Muntu's ACE (Arts for Community Empowerment) in-school and after school programming. His reach to over 3000 children a year created a vast educational component that to this day still impacts the lives of the Chicago land community at large.
While becoming a beacon for Chicago’s south side and surrounding areas, Sekou became Muntu Dance Theatre’s Executive Director in 2017.
In 2019 Conde was featured as a cast member in the dynamic Theatrical Concert "Djembe! The Show". Additionally while on the humbled journey of a Cultural Ambassador, Conde, became assistant Manager, of Guinee West Africa's famed Les Ballets Africians, Nimbaya Women Master Drummers and Guinee Percussions and serves as Board Chair of La Foundation Aicha, a non-for profit organization whose mission is to assist with the worlds needs of humanity and pure water.
As a budding entrepreneur, Conde has also made his presence known in the mainstream arts by his appearance in the movie “South Side With You” which focused on Barack and Michelle Obama’s meeting and three special appearances on Fox’s “Empire”
The intrinsic discipline and vast knowledge Conde has gained has taken his abilities to new heights, increasing his cultural devotion to community and traditional African values.