Fara Tolno

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Djembe Maestro Fara Tolno

Musician, Choreographer, Social Worker

Discover the Enthralling World of Djembe with Fara Tolno, the Master Griot

fara tolno in concert

Fara Tolno: Embracing Roots and Rhythms

Gabriel Fara Tolno isn’t just a djembe master, he’s a living embodiment of the vibrant pulse of West Africa. Born in the sun-soaked village of Kissidugu, Guinea, Fara’s rhythm took root at the tender age of nine, when he first picked up the iconic Djembe drum. From village celebrations to dusty village streets, the drum became his playground, its deep tones echoing the ancient spirit of his land.

But Fara’s talent wasn’t destined for local ears. The whispers of his genius soon reached the capital, Conakry, and eventually, the prestigious Les Merveilles de Guinea dance company. Under the legendary tutelage of maestro Kemoko Sano, Fara’s skills were honed like diamonds. He absorbed the rich tapestry of rhythms, dances, and stories woven into every beat, becoming a guardian of his cultural heritage.

His nine-year tenure with Les Merveilles wasn’t just artistic development; it was a baptism by fire. Fara shared the stage with luminaries like Youssou N’Dour and Mamady Keita, his fiery virtuosity electrifying audiences across the globe. From Paris to New York, London to Tokyo, the infectious energy of his playing transcended borders, leaving hearts pounding and feet tapping long after the final note.

But Fara’s ambition wasn’t just to mesmerize; it was to share. He saw the unifying power of djembe, its ability to bridge cultures and forge connections where words faltered. This led to the birth of Kissidugu, his network of percussion and dance ensembles across Guinea and beyond. Through interactive workshops and immersive online lessons, Fara became a beacon for budding percussionists, patiently guiding them through the labyrinthine rhythms of his tradition.

Fara Tolno's Collaborations with Renowned Musicians

Fara has collaborated with many of the world’s most renowned musicians, including Mamady Keita, Burning Spear, Neil Young, Sekouba Bambino, Otis Taylor, Joe Cocker, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, Habibe Koite, B.B. King, Oumou Sangare, and many others. His presentation approach has been described as mystical, as he captivates audiences all over the world.

Fara Tolno's Work for the Preservation of West African Culture

Fara’s impact extends beyond the classroom. He’s an ardent advocate for cultural preservation, working tirelessly to ensure the vibrant tapestry of Guinean traditions finds a place in the global tapestry. He champions sustainable practices, establishing the Kissidugu Foundation’s breadfruit nursery, providing food security and economic opportunities for local communities.

Fara directs his efforts locally through Project Drum, which provides rhythm-based educational and team-building services to schools, clubs, teams, music educators, and corporations. Project Drum, founded on West Africa’s rich musical traditions, seeks to bring people from all walks of life together for a joyful and enriching experience. Fara uses this program to interact with children, train teachers, and perform in schools, sharing West African music, dance, and culture, as well as how to bring these elements into the classroom.

For Fara, music isn’t just entertainment; it’s a conversation. A vibrant dialogue between him, the drum, and the audience, where every beat reveals a new layer of his soul and the rich heritage he carries. He’s a storyteller, weaving tales of joy, struggle, and resilience through the language of drums, igniting the inner dancer in everyone he meets.

What Fellow Artists Say about Fara Tolno

When you hear Fara Tolno play, you’re not just witnessing a virtuoso. You’re experiencing the heartbeat of Africa, raw and pulsating, carried by a man who embodies the spirit of his land and shares it with the world, one infectious beat at a time.


Watching Fara Tolno play is like witnessing a conversation between two ancient spirits - the djembe and the universe itself.

Sekouba Bambino

Malian singer-songwriter


Fara's drumming is not just music, it's a force of nature. He ignites the soul and makes you want to dance like nobody's watching.

Miriam Makeba

South African singer-songwriter


Fara's teaching is infused with such joy and passion, it's impossible not to be captivated. He's a master who makes djembe accessible to everyone.

John Riley

American jazz and world music drummer

Djembe Products Recommended by Fara Tolno

Djembe drums and accessories tested and recommended by Fara to get you going

Remo Mondo Djembe Drum 16"

Remo Mondo Djembe Drum 16"

Key-tuned Remo djembes are as widely used by touring professionals. For both hobbyists and pros.

Remo Apex Djembe Drum 12"

Remo Apex Djembe Drum 12"

12" Remo djembe drum for people looking to start out on their musical journey.

Meinl African Style Fire Rhythm Series Rope Tuned 13" Wood Djembe

Meinl African Style Fire Rhythm Series Rope Tuned 13" Wood Djembe

Handmade, all-purpose djembe that produces a wide range of sound which is not intimidating to play—even if you're a beginner.

Miwayer Djembe Bag African Drum Case Deluxe 8/10/12/13/14"

What would a djembe drum be if you can't carry it around? Available in multiple sizes.

Ready to Feel the Rhythm of your Soul?

Start your djembe journey with Fara Tolno today. Explore his lessons, join the community, and let the beat set your spirit free.