Mory Kante, Guinea music star and ‘baobab of tradition’, dies at 70


Guinean singer Mory Kante, who helped introduce African music to a world viewers within the 1980s, has died within the capital Conakry, his household stated. He was 70.

“Guinea and the whole world have lost a great personality,” Kante’s son Balla Kante advised The Associated Press on Friday. “My father was a great personality. We lost a large library today.”


Balla stated his father had not been feeling properly for fairly a while, including that he will probably be examined for COVID-19.

Kante is finest identified for his dance tune Yeke Yeke, which was an enormous hit in Africa earlier than turning into a number-one hit in a number of European international locations in 1988.

Nicknamed the “electronic griot” – a play on the title for conventional West African musicians and storytellers – Kante died in hospital after succumbing to untreated well being issues.

I really feel an enormous void as we speak with the departure of this baobab of African Culture. Rest in peace.

Youssou N’Dour, Senegalese musician

‘African tradition in mourning’

Born right into a celebrated household of griots, Kante performed guitar, the kora harp and balafon, along with being a singer.

Along with the music of Mali’s star singer, Salif Keita, his songs had been among the many first from West Africa to achieve widespread success elsewhere of the world.

Kante spent a lot of his youth in Mali, which neighbours his native Guinea, the place within the early 1970s he joined the famend Rail Band during which Keita was additionally singer.

Leaving the band within the 1980s, Kante revolutionised the West African repertoire by going electrical and mixing conventional Mandingo music with city grooves.

It was his upbeat single Yeke Yeke that catapulted him to fame, and introduced Mandingo dance music to nightclubs throughout Europe.

The album on which the tune was included, Akwaba Beach, later went on to turn into one of many best-selling information in sub-Saharan historical past.

Kante moved away from his electrical sound throughout a lull in reputation in the course of the 2000s, choosing accompaniment from extra conventional string orchestras.

His 2010 album La Guineenne – his first in eight years on the time – drew on the large-orchestra sound from West African music’s golden age, within the years following independence from former colonial energy France.

As properly as making music, Kante additionally used his affect for social causes.

He was a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and sang in assist of the struggle towards the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in Guinea, which killed some 2,500 individuals.

On Friday, Guinean President Alpha Conde tweeted Kante had been “exceptional” and “a source of pride”.

“African culture is in mourning,” he stated.

Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour stated he was dismayed by such an awesome loss.

“I feel a huge void today with the departure of this baobab of African Culture. Rest in peace,” he wrote on his Twitter account.