UCLA student tickets go on sale Monday, September 25.
“Africa’s ﬁnest and most soulful singer." —The Guardian
Internationally acclaimed vocalist Salif Keita has been a driving force in the Afro-pop movement since the early 1970s when he fled his native country of Mali and resettled in Cote d’Ivoire. A direct descendant of Sunjata Keita, who founded the Malian Empire in 1240, Salif was born with albinism, a sign of extreme bad luck in Mandinka culture, and he was ostracized by his family and left home as a teenager. His choice to become a musician was taboo, as members of the royal caste are forbidden from becoming musicians, a profession generally reserved for the lower jeli (griot) caste. He has traveled the world with his band Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux and recorded with such well-known American musicians as Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding. In addition to his musical career, he and his wife have started a foundation, the Salif Keita Global Foundation, which advocates for the rights and basic safety of albinos, particularly in Africa, where they are often targets of violence.