Mory Sako, known by his friends and family as Iya (pronounced "eeya") was born into a farming family in the small village of Samakofadda. Samakofadda is in the Wassalon region of Upper Guinea, West Africa, and is approximately 25kms from the Mali border. Iya is Malinké, one of the many different tribes of Guinea. Malinké people use a rich variety of traditional instruments and rhythms to celebrate special occasions such as weddings and baby naming ceremonies and accompany everyday events such as farming the land. The rhythms of the Wassalon region are strongly influenced by its proximity to the Mali border.
At around age nine, Iya started to play dundun for the farmers in the fields with Mamady Doumbouya, the village djembé fola at that time, and his year group. After four years he was chosen to continue the tradition of djembé fola and in line with respectful tradition his year group approached his parents to ask permission for him to do so. With the support of his family and other villagers he went on to become a renowned djembé fola across the Siguiri and Wassalon regions, and much in demand to solo for traditional Malinké fêtes.
He subsequently worked with renowned Malinké "Walla Walla" (traditional male dancer/singer) Solo Traoré in Guinea and Mali, and taught his first international students in Mali in 1999.
In 2004 Iya arrived in the capital of Guinea, Conakry, and was introduced to Famoudou Konaté. Iya worked with Famoudou supporting classes for international students and performed with Famoudou’s group Hamana Diada in Conakry until he moved to the UK in 2007.
Group Fankabah performed for international djembé fola Mamady Keïta and his students at his compound in Conakry in December 2006 and January 2007.
Iya performed again with Famoudou Konaté in the UK at African Drum Village in August 2007 during Famoudou’s second visit to the UK.
Iya supported Mamady Keïta's UK workshops at High Wycombe in May 2008 playing Dunduns, as organised by Eliza Dickie of Djembeschool and Justine Hart of Hartbeats.
Mamady Keïta and Iya Sako are currently two of the very few Malinké Djembé Fola's from the Wassalon region of Guinea living and teaching overseas.