Kankou Kouyate

Kankou Kouyate is a singer who was born into one of the most famous djeli (griot) families in Mali, and from the age of 10 was taught music by the maestro Cheick Oumar Diabaté. Descended from three generations of the finest n’goni players in the country – her great-grandfather, the « old lion » Bazoumana Sissoko, her grandfather Djeli Moustapha Kouyaté, and her uncle, the internationally renowned artist Bassekou Kouyaté – it is no surprise that Kankou has a gift for music.

Singer-songwriter, influenced by Mali’s rich musical heritage, and by Afro-Cubism and Latin music, Kankou has collaborated with musicians playing both traditional and modern instruments on projects spanning jazz, blues, rap, mandingue, bambara, peulh, Afrobeat, reggae, rock and pop. Her versatility and readiness to explore the possibilities of musical exchanges have allowed her to work with many of the most respected artists in Mali, including Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, Habib Koite, Kasse Mady Diabate and Cheick Tidiane Seck. In 2013, with Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and the collective Africa Express, she took part in the album “Maison des Jeunes”, which had worldwide success. Among the participants in the album, she was selected, along with the band Songhoy Blues, to take part in the prestigious album release concert in London. In 2014 she won first prise in the music category in the «Talents de la Cité» competition in Ségou.