The acclaimed African musician Mory Kanté has died at the age of 70, his son has confirmed.
Kanté helped popularise African and Guinean music around the world in the 1980s, and was widely known for his house music-inspired 1987 single ‘Yéké Yéké’, which went on to become a hit in countries across Europe the following year.
Kanté’s death was confirmed to the AFP news agency by the late musician’s son Balla Kanté, who said that his father had died in a hospital in the Guinean capital Conakry earlier this morning (May 22).
“He suffered from chronic illnesses and often travelled to France for treatment but that was no longer possible with the coronavirus,” Balla said of his father’s death.
“We saw his condition deteriorate rapidly, but I was still surprised because he’d been through much worse times before.”
Kanté, who was known as a distinguished player of the kora, released his debut solo album ‘Courougnegne’ in 1981 after stints in the Rail Band, Les Ambassadeurs and Les Milieus Branches.
Some of the Guinean musician’s other notable albums include ‘Mory Kanté a Paris’ (1984), ‘Akwaba Beach’ (1987), ‘Touma’ (1990) and ‘Nongo Village’ (1993).
Tributes are being paid to Kanté on social media, with Alpha Condé, the president of Guinea, hailing Kanté for his “exceptional” career.
— Alpha CONDÉ (@alphacondepresi) May 22, 2020
Je viens d'apprendre avec consternation le rappel à Dieu de mon frère aîné et référence Maître Mory Kanté. Je ressens un énorme vide aujourd'hui avec le départ de ce baobab de la Culture Africaine. Repose en paix. De ton Frère affligé Youssou Ndour pic.twitter.com/L62RWiEbTh
— YOUSSOU NDOUR (@YoussouNdourSN) May 22, 2020
— Salim Kikeke (@Salym) May 22, 2020
We've just heard the sad news that Guinean musician Mory Kanté has died, aged 70.
A 2008 EAP project digitised some of his recordings with the Syliphone record label, including his most popular hit "Yeke Yeke", which you can listen to here:https://t.co/HEVp4KwGyE pic.twitter.com/vcSNAyNLpi
— Endangered Archives (@bl_eap) May 22, 2020
Great Guinean musician Mory Kanté dies aged 70. People like Kanté die, but they never leave us. His hit song Yéké Yéké was European number-one in 1988, and became the first ever African SINGLE to sell over one million copies there. pic.twitter.com/N4GxqrtCGg
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) May 22, 2020
Growing up with a Jazz musician the music we listen as a family to was always ‘weird’ to my friends. As a adult I’m grateful for the accidental education of world music and the plethora of genres & artists I was exposed to.
S/O to Mory Kanté, one of Africa’s greatest🙏 pic.twitter.com/cjiaVNMAnZ
— Lalla Hirayama (@Lalla_Hirayama) May 17, 2020
C’est avec tristesse qu’on m’annonce la mort de la légende du Tonton Mory Kanté paix a son âme que la terre lui soit légère il fut l’un des premiers artistes à imposer la musique africaine avec yeke yeke merci pour ta gentillesse ton sourire 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/0zsfaCQtrk
— #ONESTENSEMBLE (@Mokobe113) May 22, 2020
Noooooooooon 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢 un autre monument de la musique africaine nous quitte
Rip MR mory kante pic.twitter.com/FU52aMfMO1
— Djibril Cisse (@DjibrilCisse) May 22, 2020