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 d’ 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.
Sogbety moved to North America permanently in December of 1997 and 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, Pangia, 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. Sogbety 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 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. In Janurary 2005 Sogbety performed with Kikombe Cha Umoja! in Pittsburgh at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. In February he performed with Balafon West African Dance Ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Both of these shows were directed by Kadiatou Conte-Forte. The last weekend in February he participated as a performer and teacher at Drum Talk 2005! at the University of Pittsburgh along with Elie Kihonia, Jim Donovan, and Mamady Keita.
In February of 2005 he formed his own troupe and performed for Black History events in Ohio. As a trio, he performed 13 shows for the Mansfield Summer Library Program. Sogbety’s most recent projects include, touring with Jim Donovan’s Drum the Ecstatic, and performing for schools and universities.
2006 finds Sogbety doing drumming residencies for schools and juvenile correctional facilities; festivals with his troupe; working on a CD and producing his own West African festival. Sogbety is available for bookings by calling Melanie or Fate at 419-884-5116 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.