A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #
Keita, Salif
Salif Keita gave up a lot to pursue his dreams of a career in music. Born to royal lineage, with ancestral roots going back to Soundjata Keita, the founder of the Malian Empire in 1240, Keita was disowned by his father after announcing his plans to play music. Keita's dreams, however, were too strong to be shattered. Moving to the capitol city of Bamako, in 1967, he was soon playing in nightclubs with one of his brothers. Within two years, he was invited to join the Rail Band. A popular, government-sponsored, group that played regularly at the Buffet Hotel De La Gare, the Rail Band featured influential Malian guitar player Kante Manfila. Keita's soulful singing soon brought the band to a much higher plateau. In 1973, Keita and several members of the Rail Band relocated to Abidjian, the capitol of Cote D'Ivoire (The Ivory Coast). Renamed Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux, the group continued to attract attention with their lively fusion of Cuban, Zairean and Malian influences. In 1977, Keita received the prestigious National Order of Guinea from President Ahmed Sekou Toure. Encouraged to pursue a solo career, Keita moved to Paris in 1984. Settling in the city's Montreuil section, he found a thriving community of more than 15,000 transplanted Malians. Predictions of success proved true with the release of Keita's debut solo album, Soro, in 1987. Produced by Ibrahim Sylla, the album combined African, jazz, funk, Europop and R&B influences. In a review of the album, Rolling Stone, wrote, "Keita's voice is remarkable in itself. Its' high, bracing purity is heightened by a unique phrasing that combines full-tilt warrior strength, the sensual lilt of the Brazilian samba and Islamic prayer calls." Craig Harris