Touré Kunda

An infectious blend of African, Latin, Brazilian, reggae, and pop rhythms have made Toure Kunda one of the most successful bands to come out of Senegal. Their album Paris Ziguinchor sold more than a quarter of a million copies while their guest harmonies helped to turn Africa Bamba into one of the most exciting songs on Santana's nine Grammy award-winning 1999 album, Supernatural. Initially based in the Casamance region of southwest Senegal, Toure Kunda was formed by brothers Amadou, Ismael, and Sixu Toure to perform at the traditional Senegalese coming of age ceremony, Djamba Dong. They added the name "Kunda" from the Sorinka word for "family." Although they played indigenous African instruments -- including kora, balafon, and sabar -- at first, Toure Kunda increasingly adopted western instruments including guitars, electric bass, and synthesizer. Relocating to Paris in 1979, Toure Kunda continued to stir audiences with a mbalax and reggae-influenced dance music that they dubbed "djambaadong." The group performed for Nelson Mandela during his first trip to France in 1982. Toure Kunda's performance for Mandela marked one of the original group's final shows. A year later, oldest brother and bandleader Amadou Toure was struck with a fatal heart attack. After performing a memorial concert and recording a tribute album, Amadou Tito, the remaining members agreed to continue working together. Younger brother Ousmane was added. ~ Craig Harris

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