Lengendary African artist of Guinean origin, Mory Kanté has passed away in hospital on Friday in the capital, Conakry, aged 70. His son Balla Kanté confirmed his passing away to the AFP news agency, stating that his father died of untreated health complications.

Balla told AFP that his father “… suffered from chronic illnesses and often travelled to France for treatment but that was no longer possible with the coronavirus,” .

“We saw his condition deteriorate rapidly, but I was still surprised because he’d been through much worse times before.” he added.

Mory Kanté was best known for his hit song “Yeke Yeke” in the late 1980s which was one of the first African songs to sell over a million copies. He was born into a “Griot family” and started music at seven, when he was sent to Mali to learn to play the kora. His disguished skill with the Kora later earned him the nickname “the electronic griot”. He was also an exceptional vocalist

Mory Kanté played alongside Salif Keita in Mali’s legendary group the Rail Band of Bamako in the 70s. He release the album Akwaba in 1988 which included Yéké Yéké. The album became an international success, becoming the best-selling African album of that time.

He was involved in various humanitarian causes in Africa and Eastern Europe, and was also goodwill ambassador for international organisations like Unicef, the FAO, UNHCR.

President Alpha Conde of Guinea in a Tweet on May 22, also confirmed the dead of the music legend. He  described Mory Kante’s death as a loss for African culture and added that Mory had led an exceptional, exemplary life which was a source of pride.

Malian Presidency in a statement has extended a message of condolences to the Mory Kante’s family and the President of Alpha Conde.  “President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita salutes an accomplished artist and a symbol of integration between the peoples of Guinea and Mali” the statement add.

Africa’s superstar Youssouf Ndour in a Tweet has described the Mory Kante as “a boabab of African culture, adding that he felt a huge void on learning of Kanté’s death.


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