For more than 40 years Salif Keita has been the goldsmith of modern Malian music, tirelessly pursuing his craft by extending musical frontiers in a constant quest for new ways to make records. In the course of his travels, Salif Keita never put aside his Mande roots and culture. A pioneering singer and composer, he made his first appearance in the avant-garde of music thanks to his vocal exploits with the Rail Band and the Ambassadeurs, two of the greatest Malian orchestras of the ‘70s, before he became one of the great revelations of the nascent world music genre after his solo debut with the album Soro in 1987.
After such later classics as Moffou in 2002 and M'Bemba in 2005, today he beautifully brings the decade to a close with La Différence, the third chapter of his acoustic trilogy released by Universal Jazz. Salif Keita is a man in perpetual motion. Instead of remaining bound by tradition, he has stayed on the edge where musical evolution is concerned, and particularly the technology that makes evolution possible. His new album, the jewel in a crown of sumptuous arrangements, proves it.
Born with albinism, Salif Keita had a clear skin color that was an ill omen in the ancestral Mali where he grew into a man. "I'm a black man, my skin is white and I like it, it's my difference/I'm a white man, my blood is black, I love that, it's the difference that's pretty,"he sings in La différence, the title track from his album and its first single. He says it all in this hymn to tolerance, a song in which he expresses his artistic convictions as he has rarely done before.
Since 2001, the foundation known as Salif Keita pour les Albinos has been working to increase large-scale awareness of this issue in Mali, and refute beliefs that people with albinism are cursed. The foundation provides care and assistance to people with albinism together with protection against the sun, their worst enemy after indifference.