is definitely a "grand old man" of
Malian music. Although it was only in 2004 that a first album in his own name came out, his musical career goes back
to the days when Mali found its independence (1960). During his stay in Conakry in the late 1950s, he was co-founder
of the National Orchestra of Guinea
In 1960, he returned to Mali
to be one of the founding members of the National Orchestra « A »
where he excelled in his particular way of playing guitar, reminiscent of the late Guinean guitar player
Besides the guitar, he mastered other instruments too, such as trumpet, flute, saxophone but above all the balafon, the
West African xylophone using gourds as resonators.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Keletigui joined the Ambassadeurs
and toured with them in the USA. This created
the opportunity to jam with Lionel Hampton. He later featured as balafon player on various albums recorded during the
1980s and 1990s, for example with Ami Koita
Tata Bambo Kouyaté
(1989), Salif Keita
, Adama Diabaté
In 1998, Kélétigui joined the band of Habib Koité
plays balafon and violin. He contributed to Habib's album « Baro »
in his world tours.
Kélétigui first solo album was made with the participation of the same Habib Koité and the
Ensemble Traditionnel du Mali
. It offers an acoustic impression of Kélétigui's career
with at times a jazzy feel.
Performing live until the last months of his life, he died in November 2012 at the age of 81.