Amara Kante

Of Malinké origin, Amara Kanté was born in Abidjan where he began drumming in traditional Malinké ceremonies at age 4. By age 7 he began touring as a professional artist throughout Africa, the United States and Europe with celebrated troupes such as Koteba D’Abidjan and Ballets Africains de Guinée. Interestingly, it was in Koteba Group that a young Amara Kanté first met and played alongside then fellow up and coming drummer now better known as iconic Master Djembefola extraordinnaire, Mr. Mamady Keita.

Amara’s skills as a musician and performer in the ballet style were further honed under the direct tutelage of his beloved mentor and friend, legendary West African Artistic Director Mr. Souleymane Koli of Koteba D’ Abidjan group. Other notable influences include: Kemo Sanou (Mervais D’ Guinea) who taught him techniques in the African ballet style, Fakuruba Diabaté under whom he apprenticed learning the Dundun drums, Adama Diarra (Conductor, Griot) under whom he also apprenticed.

His extensive professional experience continues to attract famous international artists such as Mory Kanté and Peter Gabriel. In 1997, he created the BENKAN FOLI troupe. In 1998, he fulfilled his aspiration by founding a Mandinka percussion school in Marseille, where he taught djembé, the dunun and the krin.

“I am a Malinke from the caste of blacksmiths, but more importantly, a man for whom the djembe is a living and an articulated word, whose origins date back to time immemorial. It is with modesty and deep respect that I entrust it to you through these rhythms, just as it was entrusted to me by great masters such as: Mamadou CAMARA, Sékou CAMARA alias ‘cobra’, Mamady n’Toman KEITA, Famoudou KONATE, Issa BALO, Soungalo COULIBALY, Mansa CAMIO and Souleymane KOLY, Artistic director of the KOTEBA Group.

  • WOMAD, England
  • International African Dance & Drum Festival, Oslo
  • Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, Montreal
  • Sunfest World Music Festival, London-Ontario
  • Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal
  • AFRICOLOR Festival, Norway
  • Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, Toronto
  • AfroFest, Toronto
  • Atrium Festival, Martinique
  • Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, Montreal
  • Sunfest World Music Festival, London-Ontario
  • “La Vie platinée” 1986-1987
  • Video with Mamadou Touré 1987
  • “Les GO” CD with Maaté Keita, Awa Sangho, Niama Kanté 1990-1993