Mory Kanté , born on January 24th, 1950 with Albadaria, is a singer and musician Guinea N.
ChildhoodIt is into full Empire Mandingue in a small village with the south of the Guinea, Albadaria, close to Kissidougou, which Kanté the February 24th 1950 is born Mory. His/her father, El Hadj Djelifodé Kanté, is already a very old man and Mory counts among young people of his/her 38 children. The Kanté family is a famous family of Griot, kinds of poets, singers, historians and journalists at the same time, true alive memories whose role is since mists of time to tell in music the epopees without ends of the families and the people. The parents of Mory are both griots, function hereditary, and his/her large maternal father was a powerful chief of griots to the head of an about sixty of them. The destiny of the child is thus quite naturally to become a “jali”, term mandingue for “griot”.
Apprentice-GriotRaised initially by his/her mother Malian Fatouma Kamissoko, Mory goes to French school. To 7 years, its family sends it to Bamako, capital of the Mali, in her aunt, Maman Ba Kamissoko, other celebrates griote. Up to approximately 15 years, it is initiated with ritual traditional, the song and the Balafon. It takes part in many family festivals, with official ceremonies during which it forges a solid experiment of musician and singer.
During the Sixties, the any young person Republic of Mali, receives many musical influences: Rumba Zairean, Salsa cuban, pop and Anglo-Saxon Rock'n'roll. The Mory young person impassions himself very young person for these new electrified musics and learns the guitar. Extremely of a very rich traditional experiment, it turns to a certain modernity very distant from its family setting. In 1968, it leaves the school to integrate the Institute of Arts of Bamako. But as of 1969, it ceases its formation and plays in various orchestras, notion equivalent of the Western “group”. It forges the first notoriety while making dance the Malians of the whole nights in balls with open sky, the apollos.
In 1971, Mory is 21 years old. It is located by the saxophonist Tidiani Koné who proposes to him to integrate his group, the Rail Band of Bamako, famous orchestra of the hotel of the station. Mory accepts and takes seat in the orchestra whose singer is not other than the Malian, Salif Keïta.
KoraWhen this last leaves the group into 73, Mory Kanté replaces it with the song. Initially hesitant, it very quickly takes taste with this new role. The formation turns in all West Africa where Mory becomes a known artist. In 1976, it receives the Trophy of the “gold Voice” to the Nigeria. In parallel, he learns the Kora and thus transgresses a certain tradition which wants that the Balafon is the noble instrument in its family. He becomes however very quickly a virtuoso of this toothing-stone with 21 cords. He also exerts his talents of type-setter by writing musics for chours and ballets. Lastly, it records with the Rail Band, a long epopee in the purest tradition of the griots, “the Exile of Soundiata, the founder of the Mandingue empire”. In 1977, it undertakes with personal capacity a round of the great historic sites of the empire during which it meets many Masters of the tradition in order to perfect his role of griot. In spite of the modern variations that it imposes on the musical tradition, Mory Kanté will never put side its heredity family.
In 1978, Mory is installed with Abidjan in Ivory Coast, city musicalement very active and where the means of working and of recording are especially more numerous. The musician moves away then from the Band Rail, and surrounds himself by a new whole of musicians, of which Djeli Moussa Diawara, his half maternal brother. From now on, the Kora is in the center of its work. More and more, he thinks of renewing the traditional music by insufflating Western sounds and rates/rhythms there. The group is engaged by one of the more great restaurants of the city which seeks a a little original way to animate its evenings. The occasion is excellent so that Mory Kanté launches out in still new musical mixtures. To the traditional airs, it gives a preparing Rock or Funk, and in the same way, it revisits the standards black-American with the Kora, the Djembé or the Bolon. The bases of a new style are thrown. Success is immediate, even if this modernization of the traditional music is not always appreciated by its entourage and the purists. It is not rare to see it calling “the enfant terrible” in the press of the time.
It is with Los Angeles, on the label of the American black Gerard Chess, Ebony, that Mory Kante records its first disc in 1981, “Courougnegre”. The artist refines his happy mixtures between tradition and modernity, between traditional and electric instruments. Already very known in West Africa, Mory becomes a star on all the continent. The musical bridge that it created between Africa and the occident is in general well accommodated. Following this success, it assembles a great ballet for the French arts center of Abidjan. On scene, the formation gathers 75 artists: a choral society, musicians and dancers. During the years which follow, Mory occurs regularly with an orchestra of almost 20 people. But, it is in Europe that the Guinean wishes to come to work.
Residence permitThis desire becomes reality in 1984. Only, without his wife and her children who remain with Abidjan, Mory Kante arrives in France in full winter with the firm intention to go still further in its musical experiments and to make known themselves in Europe. In France, Mory Kante is not a star and starting is not easy. However, the African music explodes in occident during the Eighties. It is the birth of the World music, mixture of the traditional rates/rhythms of the whole world and the sounds modern, Rock, Funk, Jazz or electronic. Mory, which did not wait the Eighties to launch out in these mixtures, is essential quickly on the musical market.
Since 1984, a first album “Mory Kante leaves to Paris” produced by the African producer Aboudou Lassissi. The critical and public reception is good and Mory Kante is made known in a few months. It multiplies the concerts in all Europe, in particular in Italy where it is an enormous high-speed motorboat. Artist emigrated and without residence permit, it becomes an essential figure of the scene “world”. In October 84, it passes to Reciprocity. In December, in New Morning. In April 1985, it is invited to the festival of the Printemps of Bourges. Then from September 12th to October 12th, Jacques Higelin, which it had met of the years before in Africa, invites it on scene to Bercy, in front of 16.000 people each evening with the Senegal board Youssou Dour.
In 1985, the Cameroun board Manu Dibango takes the initiative to invite the African artists to record a song with the profit of the Ethiopia NS, victims of the famine which prevails then. Mory Kante forms part of the project naturally.
It is in Italy, that it becomes acquainted with the American producer David Sancious, who illustrated himself while working with Bruce Springsteen. The marriage of their two talents gives rise to a third album, “Ten Cola Nuts” which leaves in April 1986 on the French label Barclay. These cola nuts represent ritual offerings and voux of happiness. Will kora is always in the center of the album, but the synthetizers and coppers come to enrich the unit. Work very neat and is greeted by the press like a sublime success. The scores of sales are average but this time, Mory Kante really found a balance musical and cultural.
GoréeJust after the death of his father to more than one hundred years, the Guinean young person griot starts a very long round with a first concert with the Zenith of Paris on May 29th. In June, it makes a passage in Ivory Coast and to the Senegal where it takes part in a gathering anti-apartheid organized on June 14th, on the Île of Gorée, the island with the slaves, with broad of Dakar. During the summer, it turns between France and Italy before starting an international round which carries out it in North Africa, then with the the United States, the Japan and in Australia. Everywhere, it meets an enthusiastic public to discover this African culture, and in particular mandingue. On scene, Mory is surrounded by sixteen musicians and seven dancers. The group of Mory Kante to the image of its music, is deeply métissé: France, the United States, South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Nicaragua, England and Sweden, as many nationalities which share their cultures and their experiments.
Electric GriotThat which one calls from now on the electric griot reaches the following year, in 1987, the tops of success with its new album Akwaba Beach . Recorded with the collaboration of the English producer Nick Patrick, under the eye benevolent and accessory to president de Barclay, Philippe Constantin, this disc marks the triumph of the funk mandingue thanks to a particular title, Yéké Yéké which explodes the hits-parades of the whole world, to start with the Netherlands. Composed with beginning of the year 80, the title was already on the album “Mory Kanté in Paris” but dissatisfied on this first version, it decides to re-record it. Jackpot! The title becomes an exceptional success on which the public ones of the whole world will dance. In a few years, the 45 turns reaches scores of sale quantified to million specimens, and makes the object of innumerable transformations, remixes, adaptations and taken again in Hebrew, Arab, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, English or Spanish. With Yéké Yéké , Mory Kante becomes the African artist more sold and perhaps most known throughout the world. In July 88, the title “Yéké Yéké” reaches the first place of the Pan-European classification established by the famous American professional weekly magazine, Billboard.
Just after having received a gold in October 88 disc in France, Mory Kante is rewarded in November with Paris by the Victoires for the music of the best French-speaking album.
In January 1990, it finds the studios with Brussels, then with Los Angeles, to develop its album “Touma” (" The moment"). For the occasion, and strong of its notoriety, it is surrounded by great names of which the guitarist chicano-American Carlos Santana (very known in Africa), or the South-African one, Ray Phiri. The step is the same one as for “Akwaba Beach” and develops a mixture subtle and sophisticated between pop and tradition mandingue. The album leaves in September 1990. Suffering and profiting at the same time from giant success from the preceding album, the sales of hardly exceed the gold disc in France, and reached the million abroad.
HarlemJuly 14th, 1990, it represents France with Khaled at the time of a giant concert with New York, in Central Park, in front of thousands of New Yorkean. In November, always in New York, it takes part in the Official reception of the francophonie in famous Apollo Theater of Harlem which saw beginning its idol, James Brown.
In this beginning of the year 90, Mory Kanté seriously thinks of more often returning on its native soil. Like the noble Malian Salif Keïta, the Guinean griot wishes to use its name and its financial means to help its compatriots, and in particular youngest. Thus it projects to assemble to Conakry a cultural complex of the name of Nongo Village including/understanding inter alia a studio, a training center with the trades of the spectacle, a hotel and a museum of the griots. In a Guinea in crisis, the project will have evil to be born. In addition, it carries out another of its many projects, with the creation of an philharmonic orchestra of about thirty will koras, and as much toothing-stone, violins and flutes. It is with this Traditional Whole of Guinea of 130 musicians that it occurs in 1991 for the inauguration of the Grande Arche of Defense with Paris.
It is at his place in Guinea that the star of the afro-dance records his new album “Nongo Village” of the name of his studio. Among the eleven titles mixed in New York and Paris, it is “the Tension” which seems intended to conquer crowd and to invade the tracks of dance in the same line as “Yéké Yéké”. In this disc, Mory Kanté reinstates the Balafon which détrône guitars. The first extract leaves in September 93 followed by the album to the autumn. The reception is average, and some reproach him for being lost a little in a receipt which misses renewal.
After all these years of success, Mory Kanté chooses to find a family music, more traditional. Perhaps a little tired of his electric image of “griot”, the Guinean turns towards his sources and a more authentic practice of his art and his trade.
The share of the thingsIn 1996, Mory Kanté leaves an own-produced album in order to preserve a certain independence of creation. Indeed, the album Tatebola the share of the things puts per hour Techno. But the rhythmic bases of the techno are perhaps not so far away from the ancestral percussions and the musical inspirations of this disc want to be close to the origins Mandingues. The album is well accommodated by the happy critic and public to find the Griot on scene with the Cicada in March 1997.
In July 1997, Mory Kante is present at the Womad Festival with Reading in Great Britain, in August with the Mauritius, then in September in Austria. The notoriety of the last years is blown a little, but Yéké Yéké remains an eternal calling card for the Guinean artist whose work always preserves a high level quality.
It is necessary to await 2001 to find Mory Kante. It is in June of this year which it leaves “Tamala” (the Traveller) after a long silence. 51 years old, the musician however ceased turning throughout the world but without hardly of French stopover. This time, one finds it with an album in the afro funk mandingue which made its success 15 years ago. The share of traditional instruments is important and gives a softer savor and less electronics to the unit. It is the English Paul Borg who produces the disc on which one always finds many influences, hip hop, gipsy or drunk person via a duet with the diva of the rhythm and British blues, Shola Ama.
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