A typical motivational story of Grass to Grace, the story of legendary singer and songwriter Salif Keita is definitely one for the books. Cast out by his family and ostracized by the community because of albinism which was deemed a sign of bad luck in the 1900s in Mali, he defied all odds to become a global icon.
Born in 1949, Keita left his hometown, Djoliba for Bamako where he joined the government-sponsored Super Rail Band de Bamako. They fled again after the unrest in Mali during the mid-1970s to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
Despite the turbulence growing up, Keita was determined to succeed which prompted his move to Paris in 1984 to reach a wider audience with his music.
He immediately found success in Europe, however, his works were often criticized occasionally for haphazard quality.
Known for his debut album, Soro, released in 1987, the album marked the music of his first period. This particular album produced by Ibrahim Sylia casts the spotlight on him. He is regarded as the “Golden Voice of Africa”. His single, Africa, became a staple song around the continent after its release.
To celebrate his birth, we bring you 12 hit songs:
1. Salif Keita – Africa
2. Salif Keita – Nyanyama
3. Salif Keita – M’Bemba
4. Salif Keita – Lony
5. Salif Keita – Nous pas bouger
6. Salif Keita – Tono
7. Salif Keïta – Cono
8. Salif Keita – Karifa
9. Salif Keïta – N’toman
10. Salif Keita – Souareba
11. Salif Keita – Moussoulou
12. Salif Keita & Cesaria Evora – Yamore