The time has come for Africa to rise, dream and make dreams come true, renowned Malian singer-songwriter Salif Keita said while highlighting how happy he was to see how interested Turkey is in Africa.
Keita told Daily Sabah during an interview in Ankara that he was very pleased by the hospitality Turkey has shown him and that he was happy to be performing in the capital.
Asked about his concert, he said: “The aim is to introduce the Turkish public to African music and gain new friends of Africa, that support the continent with their hearts.”
The acclaimed African artist may perform for the masses now, but he initially "did not want to be a musician," Keita explains. "I wanted to be a teacher and was getting education in this direction. But they said ‘he will not be able to teach, he will not be able to do this.’ I became a musician because I did not have the choice.”
“As I set off on a quest, by chance, I met a group of musicians who were playing the guitar and I told myself ‘I can do this too,'” Keita said, in what would be his first touch with music and begin the path to a music career.
Nicknamed "the Golden Voice of Africa," Keita captivated his Turkish and African fans during his performance at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Concert Hall in Ankara.
Born in 1949 in Mali with albinism and limited eyesight, Keita comes from a noble family and is a descendant of Sundiata Keita, a 13th-century prince and founder of the Mali Empire.
One of the best African singers of the past century, he has fused a wide range of local African rhythms with jazz, blues and Afropop dance music.
Keita's track "Tomorrow" was featured in a documentary on the life and legend of Muhammad Ali. He has released 25 albums.
He said the music in Turkey is similar to his home country.
"As far as I've heard, the music of Mali and Turkey is actually not that far away," he said. "I had the opportunity to get to know Turkish artists who play instruments very well. I hope that we will have the opportunity to work with Turkish artists in the future as well."
Keita founded the Salif Keita Global Foundation in 2015 and has fully dedicated himself at a global level to those with albinism – a condition widely discriminated against in Africa – after he retired from recording his final album "Un Autre Blanc," or "Another White," that was released in 2018.
“I was born an albino and my life has not been easy. I tried to live conscious of this reality and established this foundation. I tried to do something for especially children, people with albinism that had no access to education,” Keita said.
Keita is in Ankara within the scope of the ongoing Başkent Culture Road Festival. Aiming to introduce Ankara's cultural, architectural and historical heritage to the international area, the Culture Road Festival will host 560 events with 5,971 artists, 179 academics and historians.