African Music Encyclopedia


Les Ambassadeurs


Les Ambassadeurs, another big band from Mali, formed in the early 1970s. Salif Keita and guitarist Kante Manfila left the Rail Band to form Les Ambassaduers. The band lasted for over ten years and in that time left an indelible mark on modern music from Mali.

Les Ambassadeurs' music was Manding-influenced, latin-tinged, with with lightness and swing, and despite the modern instruments you can clearly hear the strains of the original Manding music. By the late 1970s Keita became determined to crack the international market, the band made the move to Paris and changed their name to Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux. With Keita's outstanding voice and presence balanced by Manfila's cracker-jack guitar work and the mornful sax solos all tied together by the overall Islamic sound, Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux became one of the most popular transplanted African bands in Paris. Problems soon cropped up between Keita and Manfila and soon Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux were no more. Salif Keita tours around the world regularly and he is definitely not to be missed.

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