Forrest Matthews began studying West African music in 2003, at the age of 11 and met Fode Lavia Camara very shortly after. After many years of training under, Lavia, Forrest traveled to Guinea for the first time in 2015 to help him with the first annual KALOUM DJEMBE Festival in Conakry. Since then, Forrest has travelled to Guinea annually, living and training with the artists of Ballet Gbassikolo du Kaloum, as well as continuing in the organization of the annual KALOUM DJEMBE Festival, now up to its current 5th Edition. In 2019, he and Fode held the first annual Kaloum Djembe Drum and Dance Conference in Greensboro NC, bringing together the top artists in the states who come from the Kaloum neighborhood in Conakry. In addition to Fode, he has studied extensively with Namory Keita in his home village of Sangbarala as well as Famoudou Konate, Solo Kieta, Bolokada Conde, Aly Camara, Mohamed DaCosta Seny Daffe, Abdoulaye “Felu” Kouyate, Mohamed Dioubate, and Mamady Keita and Bill Scheidt of the TTM Djembe Academy. Forrest currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina and works as a freelance artist doing teaching programs and instrument repair throughout the Southeast.