For more than forty years Salif Keita has been the goldsmith of modern Malian music, tirelessly pursuing his craft by extending musical frontiers in a constant quest for new ways to make records; and his own music has multiplied its overtures to the world around him...
In the course of his travels—and encounters—Salif Keita never put aside his Mande roots and culture. A pioneering singer and composer, Salif made his first appearance in the avant-garde of music thanks to his vocal exploits with the Rail Band and the Ambassadeurs, two of the greatest Malian orchestras of the Seventies, before he became one of the great revelations of the nascent world music genre after his solo debut with the album Soro in 1987.
Born an albino, Salif Keita had a clear skin-colour that was an ill omen in the ancestral Mali where he grew into a man. "I'm a black man, my skin is white and I like it, it's my difference / I'm a white man, my blood is black, I love that, it's the difference that's pretty", he sings in La différence, the title-track from his album and its first single. He says it all in this hymn to tolerance, a song in which he expresses his artistic convictions as he has rarely done before.
The Foundation "Salif Keïta pour les albinos"
"In Africa, being born an albino is dramatic," says Salif. The lack of an educational system in a country such as Mali, where the population is more than three-quarters illiterate, does much to explain the continued existence of disastrous beliefs concerning albinos. Since 2001, the Foundation known as Salif Keïta pour les albinos has been working to increase large-scale awareness of this issue in Mali, and refute obscurantist-beliefs that albinos are cursed. The Foundation provides care and assistance to albinos, together with protection against the sun, their worst enemy after indifference.