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Assitan Mama Keita

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Biography

Born in Bamako of a Malinke father and a Bambara mother, two of the 23 ethnic groups living in Mali, Assitan was brought up by her maternal grandmother as is the local custom. Her grandmother helped her to discover her singing talent and taught her the rhythms of West Africa and the Bambara melodies used to heal the sick.

Spotted at an early age by a manager who asked her to join the local theatre group, Assitan’s voice did not go unnoticed and she went on to become a soloist, firstly for the Bamako District Orchestra and then for the Badema National, Malis National Orchestra, travelling all across Africa.

Since moving to Paris at the age of 22, Assitan has worked with Salif Keita, American pianist Hank Jones and the Malian keyboard player Sheik Tdiane Seick. In 1998 she joined the group Tama with Guinean singer Djanuno Dabo, Londoner Sam Mills, and Assitan’s fellow-countryman Tom Diakité; their Bambara Iyrics rest specifically upon West African rhythms mixed with typical European sounds.

Assistan is now working on her solo album, writing songs in Bambara and mixing jaz and techno influences to the traditional pentatonic scale.

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from the album Espace

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