Kokanko Sata

A mother of three, from Wassoulou in southern Mali, Kokanko Sata broke taboos by mastering the eight-string harp known as the kamalngoni. A "men only" instrument in Mali, Sata had to build her own kamalngoni and without any males willing to show her the way, she had to teach herself to play it. When Blur member Damon Albarn traveled to her homeland to record an album, Sata became involved and ended up appearing on the self-titled, 2002 release by Albarn's Mali Music, the first release on the Brit-pop singer's Honest Jon label. In 2006, she released her own self-titled full-length on the label. ~ David Jeffries

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