Les Ambassadeurs is originally a big band from Mali, formed in the early 1970s and led by Salif Keita, who took part into the new wave of African bands who paved the way for the worldbeat explosion of the late '80s.
The Bamako-based Ambassadeurs began to really make things happen in 1973, when Salif Keita – then star of the Rail Band – joined the band and gave him space to perform jazz, Latin-American and European forms as well as traditional music.
For audiences at the time, it was a revelation. Cheick Tidiane Seck was also part of the story. He was both in the Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs as keyboardist. He was one of the mainstays of the bands. He introduced Amadou Bagayoko to Manfila in 1974. Manfila was supposed 'to teach him the musette waltzes, tangos and paso doble', said Cheick. This led the visually impaired guitarist to become a member of Les Ambassadeurs, well before breaking through on the world stage with the duo Amadou & Mariam.
Twice Grammy award winning Nigerian percussionist, Lekan Babalola will open the evening. Well known for his innovative musical style, Lekan uses his native Yoruba tongue infused with traditional music, Afrobeat and funky dance overtones.
The band Salif Keita lead vocal Cheick Tidiane Seck keyboard IdrissaSoumaoro keyboard Ousmane Kouyate lead guitar Amadou Bagayoko rhythm guitar Sekou Diabate bass Mahamadou Bakayoko (Pacheco) drum Modibo Kone percussion Mamadou Kone (Prince) calebasse Samake Harouna n'goni Dante Aminata backing vocal Bah Kouyate backing vocal