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Sogbety Diomande
Sogbety Diomande was born in the village of Toufinga, a small farming community located in the Northwest region of the Ivory Coast near the border of Guinea in Africa.  He started his career as a drummer and dancer at a very early age.  He trained as a stilt dancer with his uncle, Vado Diomande, the reigning national stilt dancing champion.  Sogbety has been stilt dancing since the age of ten and possesses the ability, through his stilt mask, to act as a mediator between the world of the living and the spiritual world of the ancestors.
Sogbety moved to Abidjan in 1990 to perform with Kotchegna, a dance company led by his uncle Vado.  There he met artists from the Ballet National de Cote de Ivoire and began to spread his name.  In 1994 Sogbety was invited by the Ballet National to perform in North America at several large festivals.  On this tour he played doundoun and djembe and was featured as a lead dancer.
Sogbety moved to North America permanently in December of 1997 and immediately found his niche in New York City.  For the next three years he performed with the Mask Dance Company led by Bley Zagae, the Kotchegna Dance Company led by his uncle Vado, Company Kobake led by Siakka Dosso, the Djoniba Dance Company, and the 7th Principle led by Yaya Kamate, as well as with many other companies and artists.  He found himself performing in venues such as S.O.B.?s, Symphony Space, Aaron Davis Hall, Lincoln Center, the Plaza Hotel, Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Kitchen, where he shared the stage with Herbin (Tamango) Van Cayseele, one of the greatest tap artists of today.
In addition to his incredible performing schedule he also found time to accompany dance classes at Djoniba Dance and Drum School, Abizaid, New York Sports Club, and the Mariebass School, and held his own djembe class weekly at Djoniba.During the Spring and Summer of 2000 Sogbety was featured as the lead djembe drummer on cult legend Jimmy Buffett?s No Passport Required tour.For most of 2001 Sogbety was a resident artist at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  There he performed at Harambe African Village with Kobake, an impressive Ivoirenne quartet.In February 2002 Sogbety was a featured artist in a tour of the Northwest showcasing mask culture in the Ivory Coast, where he drummed to critical acclaim.  During the next month he performed for the king of Cameroon.  And during that same year he recorded with jazz pianist Joseph Diamond. For the last couple of years Sogbety has been performing with all of the aforementioned dance companies in the New York City metropolitan area, in addition to doing shows and clinics in public schools with both African-based groups and Brazilian Capoiera artists.  He has been featured with Tokounou, a Guinean dance and drum company led by Sidiki Conde.  With Tokounou Sogbety has traveled around the U.S. in addition to doing local clinics at various schools, which included a residency at a school in the Bronx for disabled children where they encouraged the children to dance and play despite their disabilities.
In February 2004 Sogbety was featured in a tour of the Northwest showcasing mask culture from western Ivory Coast.  In August 2004 he performed with Kotchegna at the National Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine.  In October 2004 he was featured drum instructor alongside Mamady Keita, master drummer from Guinea at Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia. Sogbety?s main current projects include dancing and drumming with Kotchegna Dance Company, doing school clinics with Capoiera master Umbrino, teaching drum workshops, and playing occasionally at Pangia, an extremely popular downtown NYC nightclub. Sogbety makes frequent trips to the Midwest and is available for bookings by calling Melanie or Fate at 419-522-5058.
or email at  highlands@neo.rr.com