Guinean Singer Mory Kante Dies At 70

Mory Kante in 2017.

The Yeke Yeke singer who brought West African music to the world in the 1980s has died in his native Guinea. His son said the coronavirus travel restrictions prevented him from travelling to France for health treatment.

Guinean singer Mory Kante who helped spread African music to the world in the 1980s died on Friday at the age of 70, his son has announced.

Kante is best known for the dance song Yeke Yeke which was a huge hit across the African continent before becoming a Number 1 in several European countries, including France and Germany, in 1988. It was the first ever African single to sell over one million copies.

"He suffered from chronic illnesses and often traveled to France for treatment, but that was no longer possible with the coronavirus," his son Balla Kante told AFP news agency. Guinea has seen over 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 18 people have died.

"We saw his condition deteriorate rapidly, but I was still surprised because he's been through much worse times before," he added. There was no suggestion that coronavirus was his direct cause of death.

Kante was nicknamed the "electronic griot." A griot is a name for traditional West African musicians and storytellers.

He will be remembered as a founding member of the "African wave" and inspiring many other African musicians to share their music with an international audience.

(AFP, dpa)

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