Mory Kanté

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Mory Kanté
Born (1950-03-29) 29 March 1950 (age 67)
Albadaria, Guinea[1][2]
Genres World music
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, kora
Years active 1971-present

Mory Kanté (born 29 March 1950) is a Guinean vocalist and player of the kora harp. He is best known internationally for his 1987 hit song "Yé ké yé ké", which reached number-one in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain.


He was born into one of Guinea's best known families of griot (hereditary) musicians. After being brought up in the Mandinka griot tradition in Guinea, he was sent to Mali at the age of seven years – where he learned to play the kora, as well as important voice traditions, some of which are necessary to become a griot.[2]

In 1971 Kanté became a member of the Rail Band, in which Salif Keïta was a singer.[2] Keïta left the band in 1973, leaving Kanté as the singer.[2]

In 1987, he released the song "Yé ké yé ké", which was one of Africa's best-ever selling hits as well as being a European number-one in 1988, making it the first ever African single to sell over one million copies.[citation needed]

Three songs from Akwaba Beach (1987) were referenced in three blockbuster songs in Hindi films. Yé ké yé ké is played in the background of the 1990 epic Agneepath, when Amitabh Bachchan's character is in Mauritius. Tama, another song from this album inspired Tamma Tamma Loge from the 1990 hit Thanedaar, starring Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit as well as Jumma Chumma De De from the 1991 Bachchan magnum opus Hum. Another song from this album Inch Allah inspired the opening lines of the title track of Hum.

Kanté received unexpected fame again in 1994 when the German techno duo Hardfloor created a dance remix of "Yéké Yéké." He also appeared in 2006 as vocalist on British DJ Darren Tate's release, "Narama".

On 16 October 2001, Mory Kanté was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Kanté was among Africa’s top musicians – including Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam and the rapper Didier Awadi – that banded together for the recording of “Africa Stop Ebola,” a song offering sound advice aimed at raising awareness in the wake of the Ebola crisis.[3]

The song, released in November 2014, transcended public service announcements and sold 250,000 copies with all proceeds going to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).[4]

Selected discography[edit]


  • Courougnegne (1981)
  • N'Diarabi (1982)
  • A Paris (1984)
  • 10 Cola Nuts (1986)
  • Akwaba Beach (1987) (#1 SUI; #13 GER; #43 SWE)
  • Touma (1990)
  • Nongo Village (1993)
  • Tatebola (1996)
  • Tamala – Le Voyageur (2001)
  • Best Of (2002)
  • Sabou (2004)
  • La Guinéenne (2012)
  • N'diarabi (2017)
Contributing artist


  • "Yé ké yé ké" (1988) (#1 NED; #2 GER; #2 SUI; #5 FRA; #10 AUT; #12 SWE; #29 UK)
  • "Tama" (1988) (#44 GER)
  • "Yéké Yéké" (remix) (1995) (#97 AUS,[5] #25 UK)
  • "Yéké Yéké" (remix) (1996) (#28 UK)



  1. ^ Artists - Mory Kante WOMAD
  2. ^ a b c d Bio - Mory Kante RFI Musique
  3. ^ Kozinn, Allan (29 October 2014). "How to Protect Yourself From Ebola, in Song". NY Times ArtsBeat. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Hussain, Misha (24 November 2014). ""Avoid stigmatising Africa," musician says as W.Africa Ebola song launched". Reuters. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 11 Jun 1995". (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 296. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]