Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mama Sisoko has been a leader in the Mali music scene since the late '70s. His musical education began when he started to play the battery of traditional percussion instruments at the age of eight and soon moved to guitar. He was a player in the National Orchestra of Mali for many seasons. As time went on he had a major part in a variety of musical groups that performed everything from traditional percussion music to hybrids of European and American pop. His growing international fame is partially due to performances at a number of international music festivals and his acclaimed solo debut, Amours Jarabi, in 1997. Even though the critical reports of his debut were overwhelmingly positive, his lack of distribution prevented international success. Soleil de Minuit was released in the United States by Tinder in 2001. This record introduced his moody, spiritual Afro-pop to an international audience and was widely embraced by world music audiences. As a songwriter he incorporates elements of bright Afro-pop and Latin pop into songs with topics ranging from simple themes of love and relationships to highly politicized statements of African culture.