The modern Malian griot looks to an African future.
Her own voice
She’s the daughter of the Malian star Kandia Kouyaté (Music Meeting Festival 2016!), whose magnificent voice she inherited. But Djely Tapa, born as Sountougoumba Diarra, doesn’t advertise the fact. For the singer could stand on her own two feet at a young age. While her mother focused on her own career, she grew up with her grandmother in Kayes, the warmest spot in West Africa.
University studies took her to Canada, where in 2019 she recorded ‘Barokan’, her debut. She made that record with Caleb Rimtobaye, better known as DJ AfrotroniX, voted the best DJ in Africa the previous year. With him she shares an ‘Afro-Futuristic’ vision of new, future-proof African music. “I look to the future with African heritage,” she said in an interview. In her case that means desert blues and Mandinka folk with kora and percussion mixed with (rock) guitars, funky bass and electronica, not to mention stirring lyrics about such issues as the role of African women in modern society.