There's a reason Griot Baye Kouyaté was named finalist in the Independent Music Awards Global Fusion Category. A Griot or Jali is a West African Poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, considered a repository of oral tradition. The Griot in Mande society was as a historian, advisor, arbitrator, praise singer, and storyteller. Essentially, these musicians were walking history books, perserving their ancient stories and traditions through song. Their inherited tradition was passed down through generations. Their name, 'Djeli', means 'Blood' in the Manika language. They were said to have deep connections to spiritual, social, or political powers as music is associated as such. Speech is also said to have power as it can recreate history and relationships. The Mali Empire, at it's height in the middle of the fourteenth century was founded by Sundiata Keita, whose exploits remain celebrated in Mali even today. In the Epic of Sundiata, King Naré Maghann Konaté offered his son Sundiata a griot, Balla Fasséké, to advise him in his reign. Balla Fasséké is thus considered the first griot and the founder of the Kouyaté line of griots that exists to this day. Baye Kouyaté is a direct descendant of that lineage. He is one of those old souls: wise and blessed with a culturally diverse perspective, bubbling over with natural enthusiasm and creative energies that strongly suggest he's been this way before; someone deeply in touch with the spiritual essences. His performances are a journey through a world of highly complex polyrhythms fusing traditional sounds of Mali with influences such as jazz, reggae, carribbean and latin grooves, all delivered by a high spirited crew of musicians.