In the 1980s, he made a significant contribution to popularizing African music worldwide. Now the West African singer Mory Kanté is dead. He died in a hospital in Guinea's capital Conakry on Friday after a long illness, as his son Balla Kanté told the AFP news agency. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture of his homeland Guinea, Fodéba Isto, confirmed the death of the musician.
First successes in France
The musician, who was born in the south-east of the country, had his first musical successes with the Rail Band of Bamako and was inspired early on by his famous musician colleague Salif Kéita. Kanté went to France in the early 1980s and made his first appearances there.
His international breakthrough came in 1988 with his catchy tune "Yéké yéké", which made the sounds of his homeland known worldwide and topped the charts in several European countries. In addition to his singing, Kanté played the guitar, the African Kora harp and the balafon, a kind of xylophone with calabashes hung underneath.
Balla Kanté said that his father had long suffered from chronic diseases and flew regularly to France for treatment. Because of the entry restrictions because ofthis was no longer possible in the past weeks. His father's health deteriorated rapidly.
Now Mory Kanté is dead. He was 70 years old.