The Master Drummer

West African musician Mady Keita

Mady Keita began his drum tutelage under the guidance of the legendary Mouriba Keita. From the age of 14, Mady studied the traditional rhythms of his people - The Bambara Tribe from Mali. 

Steeped in a heritage of djembe, dounoun, calabash and song, Mady soon became an active member of local Bamako outfits - Babemba International Ballet and The Ballet National.   

Later he graduated to chief percussionist of Shemin de Fer and became the music composer and director of Troupe Sehwa - a music theater production in Bamako.

Through these groups Mady toured the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Burkina Faso, then went to both Algeria and Libya where he worked and continued to promote Mande music to North Africa. 

Upon return to Mali, Mady Keita formed his own group Mande Percussion in 1995 with friend and master djembe player, Moussa Keita.   Mady also continued to work as a renowned freelance percussionist with the likes of Rokia Traore.

Later, Mady registered his group as the Association for the Promotion and Development of Traditional Malian Art and Culture: Mande Percussion, focusing primarily on the preservation of traditional instrumental music, percussion and dance.  Mady was nominated as President of the Association, owing to his extensive experience and knowledge of the traditional culture.


West African Master Drummer Mady Keita on Djembe


Through the Association, Mady purchased land at Kabala, 15 km from Bamako, to develop a cultural centre and school for traditional Malian music and dance.  Malian music could be viewed and taught here giving employment opportunities to Mali’s excessive amount of talented, unemployed artists.

After extensive work with Mande Percussion, Mady was sponsored by Mr. Jean-Christophe Plat to create their first album WelekanThe album highlights the mastery of Mady Keita and is focused primarily on traditional Mande (also referred to as Manding) music.  Mady has always strived to keep the music, dance and costumes as traditional as possible in order to preserve this rich and unique culture.

Mady's music, skill, passion and dedication have seen him travel the world and spread the deep musical roots of Mali.  In 2005, Mady migrated to Melbourne in Australia and has continued the Mande traditions as a teacher and craftsman of djembe and dounoun, educating many aspiring percussionists, performing with his band Super Mande Percussion, and working with both African and Western musicians.  He has since become one of Australia's finest exponents of West African music and culture.


West African Master Drummer Mady Keita on Dounoun Drums