Mamadou Kelly in Freedom Square

Date & Time: 
Saturday, July 23, 2016 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Admission: 
Free

Mamadou Kelly tour posterMamadou Kelly hails from Goundam and Niafunke, in the heartland of Mali’s Niger River Delta. Born in 1969, Kelly first picked up the guitar at age 8 and has now become one of Mali’s music leaders. With a quiet charm and encyclopedic knowledge of Malian music, Mamadou Kelly has been an in-demand accompanist for much of his career. He and his band mates have played alongside greats such as Ali Farka Toure and Afel Boucom, helping to lay down the blueprint for what we now call "desert blues."

In 2013, Mamadou Kelly made his solo debut with the well-received album “Adibar.” Backed by his crack squad of sidemen collectively known as Ban Kai Na–"Hama" Sankare on calabash, "Youro" Cisse on djourkel (the monochord “mandolin”), Ibrahim Nabo on rhythm guitar, and Baba Traore on bass–Kelly has established his position as a bandleader in his own right. His 2015 album, “Djamila” delivered on Adibar's promise. It is full of subtle, confident, and absolutely arresting songs from one of Mali's emerging contemporary masters.


Mamadou Kelly and Ban Kai Na bring a new sophistication to the sounds from Niafunke. Their music echoes the roots of American blues and bluegrass. Their last North American tour was in 2013 at Lincoln Center New York, Chicago World Music Festival, the Lensic Performing Arts Center Sante Fe, and Festival Nuits d’Afrique in Montreal.  Kelly returns in 2016 for a second US tour that will take them from New York to Los Angeles... with a stop at Freedom Square in Troy!

“Crisp grooves, brilliant playing … and a vibe that just won’t let go” Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide

“The real roots of American blues and jazz” George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly