Born in the village of Djoliba on 25 August, 1949 is an Afro-pop singer-songwriter who hails from Mali. He is notable because of his reputation as the “Golden Voice of Africa”. Another fact about his popularity was that he was cast out by his family and ostracized by the community because of his albinism, a sign of bad luck in Mandinka culture.
In 1967, he left Djoliba for Bamako, where he joined the government sponsored Super Rail Band de Bamako, while in 1973 Keita joined the group, Les Ambassadeurs. Keita and Les Ambassadeurs fled political unrest in Mali during the mid-1970s for Abidjan, Ivory Coast and subsequently changed the group’s name to “Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux”.
Keita moved to Paris in 1984 to reach a larger audience. His music combines traditional West African music styles with influences from both Europe and the Americas. His music includes; Balafons, Djembes, Guitars, Koras, Organs, Saxophones, and Synthesizers. He performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in 1988 to call for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison “Begin the Beguine” to the Cole Porter tribute/AIDS benefit album Red Hot and Blue, produced by the Red Hot Organization.