Yé ké yé ké

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"Yé ké yé ké"
Single by Mory Kanté
from the album Akwaba Beach
B-side"Akwaba Beach"
GenreWorld, pop, Afro-pop, house[1]
LabelBarclay, London (UK)
Songwriter(s)Mory Kanté
Producer(s)Nick Patrick
Mory Kanté singles chronology
"Yé ké yé ké"

"Yé ké yé ké" is a song by Guinean recording artist Mory Kanté. It was released in 1987 as a single from his third studio album, Akwaba Beach. The song became an international hit; it 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. The song was a top five hit in France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, where it topped the chart for two weeks. A remix, the "Afro Acid Mix" was especially made for UK release, where it reached No. 25. In 1994, German techno duo Hardfloor remixed the song and released this new version with moderate success. A Bollywood song, "Tamma Tamma Loge", also used the music in this song.

Background and lyrics[edit]

The lyrics are in Mandinka.[citation needed] Kanté adapted it from a traditional song called "Yekeke." "All good things have many owners," said Kanté in a 1997 interview. He added that "the song comes from a wonderful tradition we have in the villages. You know, when young griots are approaching the age of marriage, they flirt with each other through music. They court and ensnare each other through their songs and dances. These are sweet songs, I swear. 'Yekeke' is one of them. It's the sound that young women make when they dance ... It's their way of communicating their interest."[2]

Critical reception[edit]

A review in Music & Media stated that it was easy to understand why it was a hit, as it is "a festive and very rhythmic chant, with stirring vocals wrapped in an unbridled, energetic production".[3] In 1995, Kris Needs from NME wrote, "A smattering of test pressings sparked untold mayhem over the Christmas period as Hardfloor took the ethnically-vocalled house classic from 1988 and surgically altered it into their inimitable apocalypse now. The funky acid groove grows into a relentless turbo-monster before that earth-shaking kick drum re-entry which never fails to catapult the assembled company into terminal, gibbering orbit. Techno needs more wildness and less simpering. This is wild."[4]

Impact and legacy[edit]

English DJ, producer and broadcaster Dave Pearce included "Yé ké yé ké" in his all-time top 10 in 1997, saying, "A classic that always evokes a strong reaction—a real feel-good track that works well as a transformation track when following on from someone else's set. I play it all the time."[5]

Track listings[edit]

  • 7-inch single
  1. "Yé ké yé ké" – 3:58
  2. "Akwaba Beach" – 5:11
  • 12-inch maxi
  1. "Yé ké yé ké" (remix) – 6:17
  2. "Akwaba Beach" – 5:11
  3. "Yé ké yé ké" – 3:58
  • 12-inch maxi – US
  1. "Yé ké yé ké" (French remix) – 6:17
  2. "Yé ké yé ké" (Afro acid mix) – 5:25
  3. "Yé ké yé ké" (Mory's house version) – 5:25
  4. "Yé ké yé ké" (French edit) – 3:38
  5. "Akwaba Beach" – 5:11
  • 12-inch maxi – UK
  1. "Yé ké yé ké" (the Afro acid remix) (*engineered by Robin Guthrie)
  2. "Akwaba Beach"
  3. "Yé ké yé ké" (the French remix)
  • CD single
  1. "Yé ké yé ké" (remix) – 6:20
  2. "Akwaba Beach" – 5:14
  3. "Yé ké yé ké" (live) – 7:17


Popular culture[edit]


Due to the international popularity of the song, Cantopop singer Priscilla Chan recorded a cover version (地球大追蹤) on her 1988 album, Autumn Colours (秋色) . In September 1989, the song appeared in a television commercial for the second generation Toyota Carina ED in Japan.

The song was also popular in India. "Yé ké yé ké" was used as background music in the 1990 Bollywood film Agneepath, inspired the Bollywood song "Tamma Tamma" in the 1990 film Thanedaar, and inspired the song "Pellikala Vachesindhe" in the 1997 Telugu film Preminchukundam Raa.[30]


A Greek-language parody of Yé ké yé ké, titled Ελλάδα Είναι Μόνο Μία (There is only one Greece), was recorded by Harry Klynn for his 1989 political comedy album Ραντεβού Με Την... Εισαγγελία (Date with the...Prosecutor).[31] In contrast to Mory Kanté's original subject of doting on a love interest,[32] Klynn's parody version discusses various political issues present in Greece during the late 1980s such as the Davos process for reconciliation between Greece and Turkey. In particular, the main chorus of the original is replaced by "Our (vulgar expletive for female genitalia) is burning, it's burning"[33] to imply the lack of action on the part of the government in power at the time.


In 1987 the Italian producer (and Media Records boss) Gianfranco Bortolotti released a medley under his Club House alias, with "Yé ké yé ké" being mixed up with "I'm a Man", a song originally recorded by The Spencer Davis Group and also known from the version recorded by Chicago (Chicago Transit Authority). In 1989, Club House's medley was licensed from Media in Italy to Music Man Records in the UK and became a small hit, peaking at number 69 in the British charts.[34][35]


  1. ^ Larkin, Colin (24 May 2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music: Grenfell, Joyce - Koller, Hans. MUZE. ISBN 9780195313734 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Durán, Lucy (January–February 1998). "Techno-Griot". Folk Roots (175). Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Previews - Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 5, no. 16. 16 April 1988. p. 17. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 6 October 2021 – via American Radio History.
  4. ^ Needs, Kris (28 January 1995). "Groove Check". NME. p. 18. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Jock On His Box" (PDF). Music Week, in RM (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). 9 August 1997. p. 11. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  7. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  8. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 5, no. 26. 25 June 1988. p. 18.
  9. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  10. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké" (in French). Les classement single.
  11. ^ "Top 3 in Europe". Music & Media. Vol. 5, no. 40. 1 October 1988. p. 26.
  12. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Yeke Yeke". Irish Singles Chart.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 20, 1988" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ "Top 3 in Europe". Music & Media. Vol. 5, no. 44. 29 October 1988. p. 26.
  16. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  17. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ "Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké". Swiss Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Mory Kante: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Hot Dance Music: Club Play". Billboard. Vol. 100, no. 48. 26 November 1988. p. 26.
  21. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Mory Kante – Yé ké yé ké" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  22. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 11 Jun 1995". ARIA. Retrieved 25 April 2017 – via Imgur.
  23. ^ a b "Mory Kante: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  25. ^ "1988 Year End Eurocharts: Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 52/1. 1 January 1989. p. 30. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Single top 100 over 1988" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1988" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  28. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1988" (in German). Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1988" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  30. ^ Srinivasan, Karthik (16 October 2018). "How Guinean Singer Mory Kanté's Music Was Lifted To Create 'Tamma Tamma Loge' and 'Jumma Chumma De De'". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Ελλάδα Είναι Μόνο Μία". Discogs.
  32. ^ "Yeke Yeke (English translation)".
  33. ^ "kegete to mouni mas". YouTube. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021.
  34. ^ "I'm a man/Ye ke ye ke | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". OfficialCharts.com.
  35. ^ "CLUB HOUSE | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". OfficialCharts.com.

External links[edit]