We talk about Afro-Cuban music so we thought for a change of pace we’d play some music from the continent of Africa itself.

The artist is Mamady Keïta (b. 1950) who is from the West African nation of Guinea which is southeast of Senegal and Gambia and southwest of Mali, a real cultural sweet spot on the earth. He’s a direct descendant of the king Sundiata Keita who united the Mali Empire.

Keïta is from the Mandinka people (aka Malinke, Manding, Mandingo) which numbers 32 million people who are descendants of the Mali Empire.

Keïta started his musical training on the djembe at the age of seven under Karinkadjan Kondé. His current home, interestingly enough, is Monterrey, Mexico.

I’d be shocked in there’s an Afro-Cuban percussionist who could not go to school on this video for a long, long time.

In Cuba, the term “mandinga” refers to people kidnapped and transported to Cuba from the Senegambia region of West Africa.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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Ornette's boyhood career
Ornette's Big Score