Salif Keita's voice is one other mortals can only aspire to. A searing tenor that somehow sounds gritty and glorious all at once, it's a complicated instrument that transcends language barriers, and with its subtle shadings offers solace and succor, joy and even redemption. It's not for nothing that Keita is known as the golden voice of Mali.
Given Salif Keita's incredible talent, it was inevitable that one day music would take him back to his homeland, despite the hardships he once faced there. Recently, that inevitability came to pass. With a 35-year career behind him, Keita returned home to record his latest release, M'Bemba, in Bamako in the studio he had built by the River Niger. As an albino, Keita once was disowned by his own father; as a musician, he was rejected by the aristocracy of his own caste; and as a man with ambition, he had no choice but to leave a country that offered no professional perspectives. Keita's career has led him on a wandering path, through Abidjan, New York and Paris. But his strength, talent and clairvoyance enabled him to find fame and fortune on that path, allowing for his symbolic and triumphant return to Mali.