Skip to page content
  • WDCH
  • Apr. 28, 2007
  • Performance Concludes 2006/07 World Music Series


    Presented in association with KCRW

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2006/07 World Music series concludes with the debut appearance of internationally acclaimed Malian vocalist Salif Keita on Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    Known as the "Golden Voice of Africa," Salif Keita's rich and powerful voice is his salvation. Born into nobility, Keita was shunned because of his albinism and break from tradition when he decided to become a musician, a pedestrian pursuit for a member of the Royal Family. Although an outsider from the beginning, Keita became one of the most emblematic artists to emerge from the World Music stage. Over the past 35 years he has built a repertoire that blends his traditional roots with contemporary influences. His songs complement all kinds of genres, from French and English pop and American soul and jazz, to Cuban music and Argentinean tango. Today Salif Keita is accepted everywhere as one of World Music's most influential artists.

    SALIF KEITA can trace his ancestors all the way back to Soundjata Keita, who founded the Malian Empire in 1240. That a man from the Royal Family chose music as his profession caused a storm of protest. Shunned also for his albinism, Keita lived as an outcast, but always persevered. In the '60s, he debuted with the Rail Band, one of the most influential orchestras on the local scene in Mali. African music was undergoing a great transformation at this time. The inspiration of cultural emancipation, outside attractions of American and European trends, and new technology and instruments provided Keita with a climate ripe with growth and learning opportunities. Keita's voice, baroque and powerful, was already one the most magnetic instruments in the country. While in the Rail Band, Keita met Kanté Manfila, a guitarist from Guinea who had many of the same ideas as Keita concerning the blending of disparate styles. After three years with the Rail Band, Keita and Manfila moved on to Les Ambassadeurs, the (then) second most prolific group in Mali. The group's popularity soared. In 1978 Keita was named Minister for Music and Culture by the president of neighboring Guinea. In gratitude, Keita composed the song "Mandjou," the first Mandigo hit of the modern era. Keita and Manfila then produced "Primpin," a scandalous song with a revolutionary sound. Keita went from renegade to star, and in 1987 his album Soro established the Afro Pop concept. Four years later, Amen, with appearances by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Carlos Santana, showed how successfully Salif had adapted to contemporary music. With the release of Moffou in 2002, Keita renewed his acquaintances with his old accomplice, Kanté Manfila, and also marked the beginning of his association with producer Jean Lamoot. Moffou represented only one step in Keita's return to his roots. The return was put into full effect with M'Bemba, the first of all his albums to be recorded in Mali, in the very studio that he had built for himself at home in Bamako. M'Bembe is the work of an artist who has never surrendered to adversity. For 35 years, Keita has been striving to make peace with himself and create unity, and this has finally been achieved.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2007, 8 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    World Music Series

    SALIF KEITA, vocalist

    Tickets ($33-$85) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

    # # #

  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3408,; Lisa Bellamore, 213.972.3689,; Photos: 213.972.3034