Acclaimed African music star Mory Kanté has died

The Guinea-born musician, widely known for his 1980s hit 'Yéké Yéké', was 70

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.