August 29, 1949 - June 12, 2006


Thanks to everyone who came and those who wanted to come...
Please send photos and videos to tribute@kufaru.com

kufaru aaron mouton

Aaron "Kufaru" Oscar Mouton Jr., age 56, was born August 29, 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana, departed the 2nd week in June 2006. Aaron was predeceased in death by his father Aaron O. Mouton Sr., two brothers and grandparents.

He moved to New York with family in 1956. He attended school in New York, NY (Queens) before serving in the Air Force with an honorable discharge. He earned his black belt in Karate, engaged in other studies and started playing the drums at an early age.

Aaron moved back to New Orleans, LA to live because of his love for jazz and playing with other musicians. He made recordings with various groups earning various awards. Because of the disaster in New Orleans, he went to Houston, Texas for a brief period to be with his family who moved there from New York in 2003.

His remains will be returned to Houston, Texas for burial. Other arrangements are incomplete.


Born in New Orleans, Kufaru moved to New York with his family in 1956. He attended The Manhattan School of Music before serving in The Air Force. Kurfaru danced professionally in NYC with the Bernice Johnson Dance Co., Chuck Davis Dance Co. and the International Haitian Ballet. He was a student of the percussion masters Babatunde Olitunji and Chief Bey. While studying and perfoming in NYC, he was given the name of "Kufaru", which means Guardian. (He would often joke that it also translated as "rhino").

Kufaru was indeed the guardian of the art of drum, and spent years handing down the tradition when he taught in New Orleans school programs like Young Audiences, and more recently, the Schoolhouse program run by The House of Blues. Kufaru studied, taught and performed African Dance, in NYC, then here in New Orleans with Kumbuka, and Percussion, Incorporated.

When he moved to New Orleans, he eventually made his home base around Frenchmen Street, where he and pianist Ralph Gibson played one of the first gigs at Cafe Brasil. Kufaru embodied the spirit of the Frenchmen Street music scene, where he could be found playing or sitting in on any night of the week.

Although dedicated to the traditional Afro Cuban sounds of the Conga drums (of which he would occasionally play five at a time) he was equally proficient on drum set playing Jazz, and regularly joined N.O. bands who play original music. He was currently playing weekly gigs with VaVaVoom at the Spotted Cat. He had played, recorded or toured with many New Orleans bands, including The Neville Brothers (Yellow Moon), EmmyLou Harris (Wrecking Ball), Andy J. Forrest (Sunday Rhumba), The Revealers (Can't Be Denied), John Fohl (Time Ain't Waitin'), Kenny Claiborne Band, Robert Wagner, Andy Wolf, Fredy Omar, Hart McNee, Olivier Bou, John Boutte, and many more.

He appeared on film performing on drums in "Angelheart", "Interview with a Vampire". "Pelican Brief", "Hard Target" and "The Widow Paris".

Kufaru could be found drumming until sunrise each Mardi Gras, adding to the Carnival Spirit that evolves on Frenchmen Street each year around Cafe Brasil. He made many appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His music touched many hearts. He played with true dedication and joi de vivre.

A Second Line will be held on Monday, June 26th at 6pm, beginning at 3218 Dauphine and Piety Streets in the Bywater, at fellow musician Andy J. Forrest's coffeeshop. Procession will continue to Cafe Brasil at the crossroads of Frenchmen and Charters in the Marigny Triangle.

Please send written remembrances and photos to tribute@kufaru.com