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Touré Kunda

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Biography

The Early Years

Touré Kunda was originally formed in 1979 by the brothers Amadou Touré (born 1943), Ismaila Touré (born 1950), and Sixu Tidiane Touré (born 1950). Ousmane Touré (born 1955) joined the group a few years later. They were born to Soninké parents in the Casamance region of Senegal. The name Touré Kunda translates literally from the Soninké language as “elephant family”. Their parents were Daby Touré (1875-1956), and his wives Mafili (Sixu Tidiane), Masse (Amadou Seckou and Ismaila), and Dionfolo (Ousmane).

The Touré brothers developed local renown as a singing and percussion group, playing music based on traditional Senegalese rhythms known as Djabadong. In the late 1970s, the three brothers moved to Paris and began experimenting musically. The basis of their music remained traditional African rhythms, enhanced with the incorporation of reggae and other influences. Acoustic performances centered on vocals, kora, balafon, and percussion, evolved over time to include electric instruments and synthesizers. The brothers expanded the group to include several musicians from France and elsewhere.


The Celluloid Years: 1980 - 1987

Touré Kunda released their first album in 1980, É’mma Africa, which included their signature hit “É’mma”. This album initiated the band’s relationship with the Celluloid label, which was to last until about 1987. A second release soon followed, Touré Kunda (1981), and the group performed regularly around Paris to support these albums. Tragically, Amadou collapsed on stage and subsequently died in January 1983.

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