November 23, 2008

Mory Kanté

With a career mostly in Mali and Europe it is easy to forget that Mory Kanté was born in Guinea. It is a pity that most western audiences only know him by his 'hit single' Yéké Yéké. Although it has no doubt brought him fame, it has also labelled him as a pop artist. Anyone who has heard his work with the Rail Band (e.g. this CD) will know that he's more than that.

In a later post I will post some tracks by Mory Kanté with the ensemble of the kora legend Batourou Sékou Kouyaté, but for now here is some evidence of the level of respect he has in Guinea: a programme of the Interprétation Comparée series from 1988, dedicated to Mory Kanté, and to one track: "Balakononfing".

And that's not all. Here is a video from the mid-1980s, of Mory Kanté accompanied by the great Malian singer/griot Mah Damba*. The track is called "Mariama" with an "m", but Mory stubbornly sings "Mariana".... *more about Mah Damba in a later post UPDATE Jan. 6, 2010: the link to the "Interprétation Comparée" broadcast had gone dead. I have replaced it with a (hopefully) more stable link. EDIT June 11, 2013: I have replaced the link to the Interprétation Comparée programme with a faster one.

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