Mamadou 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.
“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