Salif Keita's success story reads like an improbable historical novel. Born in Mali and descended from a famous warrior king of the Manding Empire, Keita is an albino, which is still considered bad luck in many parts of Africa. He was ostracized from birth, and his childhood was marred by his father's oft-expressed revulsion. Although it was considered shameful for people of his caste to become entertainers, he must have felt that he didn't have much lose, so he migrated to the capitol city of Bamako bent on a career as a singer.
It's 2001. After a few artistic missteps, he needed an album to reaffirm who he was and give a renewal to his sound. Sometimes a return to basics can be the best way for an artist to move forward. For Salif Keita, that's definitely the case with the album "Moffou", released in 2002. In spite of using a hefty number of musicians (17, plus six backing vocalists), the sound is very stripped-down. Even the supple electric guitar work of Djeli Moussa Kouyaté is mellow and low-key. The real beauty here is Keita's voice, carefully framed and used to maximum effect.