Malian born Salif Keita is undoubtedly one of Africa’s greatest artists.
He overcame the stigma of albinism, transcended the traditional restraints of his noble lineage, and sang with the best in West Africa before settling in Europe. With his unique fusion of Afro-inspired global sound, he conquered unchartered ears, and over three decades helped create a worldwide market for the music of the continent.
Known for his innovative electro-crossovers, his 2002 release “Moffou”, was an unexpected acoustic return, and then significantly, in 2004 he too, headed back home.
Now living in Bamako, he’s built a studio where he recorded his latest “M’Bemba” [‘the Ancestor’].
With this fine production, he reaches further to the roots of his Mande heritage, exploring his country’s history and tracing his music back to its princely origins.
Traditionally conceived compositions are exquisitely rendered by legends and longtime friends, like Kante Manfila, Ousmane Kouyaté and Djelly Moussa Kouyaté. Guest artists include Toumani Diabaté on kora and the great percussionist Mino Cinelu – the only unnecessary addition is a vocal by Buju Banton.
Unadorned by electronic gimmicks, it’s a rare album of honest artistry – enhancing the rich brilliance of “The Golden Voice “.
With “M’Bemba”, Keita continues to build bridges not only between his native continent and the rest of the world, but between African cultures – it’s an epic World Music album.