Born in Washington, DC, Uasuf Gueye comes from a diverse background of music. His mother is a school teacher from Washington, DC. His father belongs to a family of West African oral historians and musicians known as Nguewel/Jeli.
He began his musical journey at the feet of his father and other master musicians as he learned the techniques of West African percussion. Through these disciplines, Uasuf received his first training as a musician, performer, oral historian, and lecturer. At a young age, he began traveling and performing as a musician for the local West African Dance Companies in the Washington, DC area.
Over time, Gueye began to seek out different ways to express himself through music while making connections between both sides of his lineage. He began using his traditional African instruments to create hip hop, rock, R&B and jazz grooves, topped off with captivating rap and R&B lyrics. As a result, he has developed a vast repertoire that ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs.
Uasuf is now a dynamic multi-instrumentalist, playing six instruments including the West African xylophone known as Bala, a skillful composer and recording artist, as well as a captivating educator and teaching artist. Uasuf Gueye creates, teaches, and plays music that appeals to listeners from any age or background and is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
Professional work and accomplishments include:
2017-2018 Strathmore Artist in Residence
Musician/Performing Artist for Alex Martin Music, Proper SKANKS, Africa Unplugged and others
Guest Artist and Lecturer for American University, Berklee College of Music, and various D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area K-12 schools
Music Accompanist for Kankouran African Dance, Coyaba Dance Theater, and more
Beatbox Remix Series w/ Christylez Bacon: Manding Jeli Music
Uasuf is always pushing himself to be the best, whether it’s onstage, in the recording studio, in the community, or when giving private lessons. See what these individuals are saying about this talented artist and his musical, cultural, and educational impact.
Uasuf Gueye was referred to us by a highly revered master and elder of African arts and culture. Uasuf is highly skilled teacher/performer with a firm yet compassionate and patient manner enabling him to move an entire class to higher levels of performance with each session. Uasuf is moving our young musicians towards becoming a classical African percussion orchestra. We are thrilled at what he's accomplished.
Uasuf is also a mesmerizing performer. It's amazing to see and hear him switch from one instrument to another all the time making beautiful music. When he's playing solo in a crowded room or outside at a festival, the surroundings become respectfully quiet as everyone listens intently absorbing his artistry. I couldn't recommend a better teacher, trainer or performer than Uasuf Gueye.
Owner, Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute (Washington, DC)
As the Director of the Artist in Residence program at Strathmore Music Center, I highly recommend Uasuf Gueye as both a performer and an educator. I have attended many of his concerts and school shows. You will not be disappointed in the caliber of his work!
Director of the Artist in Residence program, Strathmore Music Center (Rockville, MD)
I first got to know Uasuf when he was recommended for a weekly music series I organized in the Gateway Arts District. He came to Mediterranean Cafe with a vocalist and gave a wonderful, captivating intimate performance on balafon, guitar, and different West African percussion instruments. He invited me to play a song with him in the second set (I'm a jazz guitarist) and we did a composition of mine that he had never heard before but played so well that I asked him to record it with me for my next album. That recording turned out beautifully and will be a highlight of the CD. His playing gave voice to something in the composition that had always been there but was only able to emerge and complete the composition thanks to him. We plan further collaborations. My wife and I also went out to hear his group play at Bossa Bistro and were amazed by the skillful way he was able to blend traditional African music with urban American hip-hop, two styles with which Uasuf has deep familiarity and training. His shows are not to be missed.
Musician (Mt. Ranier, MD and surrounding areas)
Uasuf has been giving my 8yr old daughter lessons on the traditional African Balafon (ancestor to the xylophone) for the last 5 months. He has a gifted talent in building her interest in the music and keeping it fun. Being an 8yr old, her attention will easily drift off to other areas. Uasuf gives her that space to comment and share then gently and precisely gets her back on task. He has also been able to develop her confidence as a musician and singer, as well as build her awareness for traditional African culture.
I had the awesome opportunity to have Baba Gueye in my classroom and he was amazing! He is fast approaching master levels in his craft as he embodies the musicality of a much older and presumably more experienced elder. I can't wait to have him back! I highly recommend him!
Akinyele Emory Calhoun
Teacher, Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School (Washington, DC)