Kankou Kouyate is the niece of the N’Goni genius Bassekou Kouyate and was born into one of the most respected Griot families in Mali; growing up surrounded with music, descendent from generations of the finest N’goni players in the country, she became the music student of her uncle Cheick Oumar Diabaté at the age of ten. Kankou has worked with giants like Toumani Diabate, Madou Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate, Cheick Tidianne Seck, Salif Keita, Habib Koite, Vieux Farka Touré… She was backing many famous Malian Griots, and she has often been singing at weddings with her mother. In 2013, she worked with Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and the collective Africa Express, and took part in the album “Maison des Jeunes”, which had worldwide success. In 2019, she recorded the internationally praised album “Kuma” with Mark Mulholand, highly praised world wide: “terrific afro-pop album” wrote Songlines, for instance. As studio vocalist she has been singing on more than hundred albums and singles, for instance on Dutch bass-layer Teun Creemers’ beautiful album “Naamu” from 2023 that just toured for the first time this May.

“N’Darila”, her first solo album, Kankou goes back to her roots. Kankou’s texts are philosophical in the Manding tradition, where she enterprets her social surroundings and society. She speaks about woman’s rights and good behaviour towards your fellow humans. In Bamako the call her “a Malian Nina Simone", due to her natural performance, her texts on Human Rights, and her way of framing from deep to high notes, effortlessly and elegantly. We formed her group Les Etoiles de Garana, in order to record this album. Is a family group of cousins and far cousins of the Kouyate families. Kankou grew up with the her cousin, the N'goni Bass player Madou Kouyate, son of the famous Bassekou, and Lassine Kouyate, third cousin and percussionist of the legendary Baba Salah. The vituoso N’Goni player Kandiafa, was always around in their childhood. The drummer and percussionist Legre Thibeaut Sery is from the Ivory Coast, but migrated to Mali years ago, playing for Salif Keita, Oumou Sangaré, Vieux Farka Touré and many others. All together, along with the guests Bassekou Kouyate and Sefoudi Kouyate, they bring a contemporary and authentic groove to the traditions they grew up with. The album was recorded during three days in Bamako, and mostly created in the moment. The producers Carolina Vallejo & Madou Kouyate had a common vision to use acoustic traditional sound, in order to bring out Kankou’s unique voice and traditional moral messages, full of natural wisdom from the Malian earth and spirits.

Music ©by Kankou Kouyate & Madou Kouyate All texts by Kankou Kouyate Arranged by Madou Kouyate Produced by Carolina Vallejo & Madou Kouyate Recorded at MBK Studio Bamako, Mali 2024. Recording Engineers Madou Kouyate & Charles Coulibaly Edition Carolina Vallejo Mastered by Tom Leader Executive production Carolina Vallejo  ©℗ One World Records 2024  

LINE UP Kankou Kouyate (Vocals), Kandjafa (N’Goni Medium) Madou Kouyate (N’Goni Bass & Percussion), Lassine Kouyate (Tama, Bará, Karinia, Calabash Shaker), Legre Thibaut Sery (Calabash, Congas, Bells & Shakers). 

SPECIAL GUESTS Bassekou Kouyate (N’Goni Medium) “Bala”, “Den Kelen”, “Maria Lulu Rishi” Sefoudi Kouyate (Kora) “Denin Kongo”, “Doke” Charles Coulibaly (Keybords) “On dit non”, “Den Kelen”, “Maria Lulu Rishi” Yuliesky Gonzalez (Trumpet) “Maria Lulu Rishi” Madou Kouyate & Legre Thibaut Sery (Backing Vocals) “On dit non”

TITLES 01. Bala 03:43, 02. Gnanadje 04:35, 03. On dit non 06:39, 04. Deni Koungo 04:20, 05. Blanko 03:48, 06. Den Kelen 05:33, 07. Na fa te Djougouyala 06:18, 08. Doke 03:50, 09. Gnani 04:23, 10. N’Darila 04:31, 11. Tien Kagni 03:10, 12. Maria Lulu Rishi 05:01. TOTAL PLAYTIME 53:51

©℗ One World Records 2024