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Lamine Konte

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Biography

b. c.1940, Kolda, Casamance, Senegal. A distant relation of the Gambian Konte family of kora (west African harp) players, Lamine Konte first studied under his father, Dialy Keba Konte, then Souldiou Cissoko. After attending the School of Arts in Dakar, he began to develop his own unique style. Rather than traditional music he was more inclined towards a fusionist direction, employing both kora and guitar. The style saw fruition with the formation of his first band in 1960, which quickly established a national reputation for their live performances. In 1965 they were the Senegalese representatives at the Black Arts Festival in Dakar. However, the group was disbanded in 1972 when Konte relocated to Paris for a solo career. His most enduring collection of songs following in 1977 with the Tinque Rinque album, which blended kora, rock and folk musics - if not seamlessly then at least convincingly. It was the first of a series of albums for French labels, but despite the quality of his musicianship, Konte has not been able to build or maintain a Western audience. This should not rob him, however, of his standing in the Senegalese kora community, where he is acknowledged as a true master.
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