Vincent Harisdo

Aly Keita | Balafon

Aly Keïta’s swirling balafon is spectacular. The mallets in his hands seem to dance over the chime bars. Aly Keïta, who comes from a family of Griot musicians in the Malinké, has been building and playing his own instruments since childhood and has now made it to the side of the best: Omar Sosa, Joe Zawinul, Rhoda Scott, Paco Séry, Karim Ziad, Trilok Gurtu , & Jan Garbarek, Pharoah Sanders, Paolo Fresu, Etienne M’Bappé, Linley Marthe, Matthew Garrison, Dr L. Subramaniam, Rokia Traoré, Cheick Tidiane Seck and many more.

Musician colleagues like Pharoah Sanders, Talib Kibwe, Philippe Sellam / Gilles Renne, Linley Marthe, Étienne M’Bappé, Paco Séry, Adepo Yapo, Camel Zekri, Rhoda Scott, Masahiro Sayama, Jean-Philippe Rykiel, Majid Bekkas, Joe Zawinul, Hans Lüdemann , Christian Thomé, Paco Séry, El Hadj N’Diaye, Hannes Kies, Benedikt Stehle, Arcadius played with the exceptional musician, whose musical development was shaped by Zouratié Coulibaly, Maiga Bogana and Paul Wassaba.

Thanks to the international success of Aly Keïta, the marimba-like instrument has gained worldwide fame. The balafon is traditionally played by a griot. Griots tell the story (stories also in the historical sense) like a poet or a chansonnier. Even if the balafonist Keïta keeps the tradition, it is not his traditional game alone that made Aly Keïta famous, but rather his own creative, even revolutionary way of integrating this millennial instrument in a modern context. Keïta’s Afro-Pop repertoire is also very popular in West African contexts. The dynamics of his playing are often driven by funk rhythms, creating a unique Afro Funk. His predilection for complex jazz arrangements sets him apart from the majority of balafonists.

Today Aly Keïta lives in Berlin and combines musical worlds with impressive virtuosity.

He wanders between spectacular African rhythms, polyphony and elements of jazz and combines them into a wonderful and unique world of sound – two magical hands and a thousand and one beats.

“I want my music to be alive and full of energy, full of hope and love, music that I can share with the audience and through which this audience and I can share our joy.”

Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly, 1997
Omar Sosa: Prietos, 2000
Trio Ivoire, 2002
Philippe Petit & Mr. Hyde: Back to the Beat, 2003
Terezinha Araujo: Nos Riqueza, 2005
Trio Ivoire: Touching Africa, 2006
Akwaba Inisene, 2008
Farafinko, 2010
Trio Ivoire: Timbuktu, 2014
Aly Keïta, Jan Galega Brönnimann, Lucas Niggli: Kalo-Yele, 2016
Aly Keïta, Jan Galega Brönnimann, Lucas Niggli: Kalan Teban, 2020
Rehearsals, recordings and concerts with the Bangoura Group are planned for 2021.

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