N'Faly Kouyate was born in Guinea in the ethnic Mandinka community in West Africa.
His father was a well-known griot in Siguiri, Guinnee. In 1994 he moved to Belgium and in 1997 he was part of Afro Celt Sound System, a group that became famous worldwide with their unique mix of traditional Irish music and West African rhythms and melodies. He increasingly developed into a true virtuoso of the kora and was also given the flattering name "the Jimi Hendrix of the Kora".
He was nominated for a Grammy Award twice. In Belgium he started his own band Dunyakan (The Voice of The World), in which he brings a fusion of West-African music, jazz and dance. He can also be frequently found at the side of percussionist Chris Joris.