Mory Kanté

Born 29 March 1950.
Mory Kanté


Mory Kanté (born 29 March 1950, Kissidougou, Guinea) is a vocalist and player of the kora harp. He was born into one of Guinea's best known families of griot (hereditary) musicians. After being brought up in the Mandinka griot tradition in Guinea, he was sent to Mali at the age of seven years – where he learned to play the kora, as well as important voice traditions, some of which are necessary to become a griot.

In 1971 Kanté became a member of the Rail Band, in which Salif Keïta was a singer. Keïta left the band in 1973, leaving Kanté as the singer.

Kanté is best known internationally for his 1987 hit song "Yé ké yé ké", which was one of Africa's best-ever selling hits as well as being a European Number One in 1988, making it the first ever African single to sell over one million copies.[citation needed]

Three songs from Akwaba Beach (1987) were referenced in three blockbuster songs in Hindi films. Yé ké yé ké is played in the background of the 1990 epic Agneepath, when Amitabh Bachchan's character is in Mauritius. Tama, another song from this album inspired Tamma Tamma Loge from the 1990 hit Thanedaar, starring Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit as well as Jumma Chumma De De from the 1991 Bachchan magnum opus Hum. Another song from this album Inch Allah inspired the opening lines of the title track of Hum.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of La Guinéenne

    La Guinéenne 2013

    Reviewed by Robin Denselow
    Kanté remains one of Africa’s finest and most inventive singers and musicians.
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