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Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center

1317 San Pablo Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94702

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MAMADOU KELLY hails from Goundam near Timbuktu in the heartland of Mali’s Niger River Delta. Born in 1969, KELLY first picked up the guitar at 17 and traveled up the river to the town of Niafunke to learn from the great Ali Farka Toure, legendary master of Mali’s acclaimed “desert blues” tradition. After Farka Toure’s death in 2006 KELLY went on to become a key member of Alkibar, the group formed by Afel Bocoum, a Niafunke contemporary of Ali Farka Toure.

In 2013, KELLY released his first solo album with the well-received “Adibar”. Returning in October 2015 with “Djamila”, KELLY established himself as a formidable performer and composer full of subtle music - one of Mali's emerging contemporary masters. Backed by veteran sidemen collectively known as BanKaiNa, the band cooks refined rhythms into profound grooves.

Kelly has toured North American several times: in 2011 as part of the Acoustic Africa tour, in 2013 as part of the Festival au Desert - Caravan for Peace tour. He is the leader of the Ali Farka Toure Tribute Band and last was in the USA in May of 2017. Among the venues where Kelly has performed are: New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago’s World Music Festival, the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, Sante Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center, Montreal’s Festival Nuits d’Afrique, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC and many other celebrated venues. In the summer of 2016, KELLY returned for a US tour of his own appearing at concert halls across the US from New York to Los Angeles. His third album “Politiki” was released in 2017 and has received strong reviews.

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Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center

1317 San Pablo Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94702

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