Afro-Pop musician Salif Keita is renowned throughout Africa for his contributions to the art of music throughout the continent. With great songwriting talent and a royal heritage adding to his appeal, Salif Keita remains amongst Africa’s most popular musical influences. Tunde Folawiyo and others around the globe may regard the music of Salif Keita as a great period in African music culture. His works continue to forge an impact upon a new generation of music lovers from Africa and beyond. From his efforts to raise awareness of the hardships of the albino community to his determination to succeed in the music industry, there is much inspiration to be had in the legacy of Salif Keita.
Born in Djoliba, Keita was long cast out of his family and became ostracized by his community due to albinism, which was considered a sign of bad luck throughout the Mandinka culture. During 1967, he left home to join a government sponsored musical group. After several transitions, his reputation with one particular group, Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux, led to his international fame, where he then received an award from Guinea’s president, Sekou Toure.
During 1984, Keita made the move to Paris in order to reach a greater audience with his music. A combination of vibrant West African music styling’s with European and American influences, his tunes proved greatly popular throughout Africa.
From Nelson Mandela’s Birthday Tribute to a number of other high-profile events, Keita’s performances are highly regarded throughout the continent. Collaborating with a number of international artists, including Carlos Santana, Keita’s reputation garnered admiration even across Europe. Shortly after 2000, Keita ventured back to Bamako where he would record music. His first album upon return, Moffou, was hailed amongst his best. Later, he built his own recording studio.
One of Keita’s most recent works, La Difference, was completed in 2009. It was dedicated to the struggles of the albino community, as well as victims of atrocities such as human sacrifice. Recorded in four locations including Paris, Beirut, Bamako and L.A., the work won the artist one of the greatest awards of his career. His impact continues to be seen throughout the continent of Africa, the albino community, and others around the globe. Tunde Folawiyo and others with an appreciation for African music may regard the works of Keita amongst the most significant in the genre, forever embedded within the culture of a continent.