Mamadou Kelly

Mamadou Kelly
Mamadou Kelly with Ban Kai Na
Mamadou Kelly
Mamadou Kelly


praising the touareg with one of their traditional songs
  • 1 Yelli
  • 2 Sehenon Men
  • 3 FIssa Maiga
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  • country:Mali
  • region:West Africa
  • style(s):Desert Blues
  • label:Clermont
  • type:Band, Solo
  • gender:male
  • instrumentation:vocal, percussion, guitar
  • artist submitted by:Festival au Desert

Line up

  • Baba Traore (bass)
  • Hama Sankare (calabash)
  • Mamadou Kelly (guitar and vocal)
  • Youro Cisse (Djourkelle)


From Goundam and Niafunke, the heart of the Malian delta blues, guitar genius and subtle vocal stylist, Mamadou Kelly has been an integral part of two of arguably the most famous groups in Malian music, Ali Farka Toure's band and also Afel Bocoum's Alkibar. Mamadou has played guitar and performed with these two greats on many of their world tours and albums. He is the solid glue that holds the music together. Nothing short of a virtuoso on the guitar, Mamadou has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of Mali. He represents the new sophistication in the sound from Niafunke.

Forced to flee his home in Goundam for Bamako after the fundamentalist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 that banned music in his home town, Mamadou continued to develop his career. He continues to tour, perform and develope his repertoire. After touring extensively as a side-man, he now steps into the spotlight to present his own music leading a group they call Ban Kai Na. With Hama Sankare, revered genius on calabash (Hama can also be heard on numerous recordings from Mali.), longtime collaborator and master of the djourkel, Youro Cisse, as well as the young gifted bassist Baba Traore, Ban Kai Na represents the most captivating combination of traditional and contemporary West African music today. With smooth vocals, Mamadou Kelly displays a sophisticated high level of art.

Mamadou Kelly can be heard on many recordings and videos. He continues to record in the studio and has just completed a new solo album in Bamako to be released 17 September 2013 on the Clermont label. His charm belies a determined professional. His song style is direct as he charms his audience describing his songs and their lyrics. A rich historical background supports his compositions and Ban Kai Na's virtuoso delivery. Without skipping a beat, Mamadou Kelly with Ban Kai Na bring a gracious hospitality to their music and the concert stage.