b. c.1950, Kirina, Mali, d. May 1998. Born into the Jali caste (traditionally musicians), she sang at weddings and baptisms in her local village from an early age, continuing to do so following her marriage at 16. Subsequently singing throughout Mali, as well as with groups in neighbouring Senegal and the Ivory Coast, she worked on developing the traditional Jali music style, adding her own lyrics concerned with contemporary social and personal issues. Malamine, her only international release, was recorded in Mali with backing from her multi-instrumentalist son Lamine Soumano. The tapes were then flown to London where overdubs were recorded by producer Abranane Fall and guitarist Zoumana Diarra (both members of Benkadi International). In spite of all this travel, Malamine is firmly in the West African tradition, with Kamissoko’s raw voice backed by sparse hypnotic instrumentation. Aminata Kamissoko died only months after Malamine was released, a victim of the hardship and poverty of her environment.
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