I N T E R V I E W
Voice of Africa
Singer, musician of talent, Salif Kéita are also a precursor in his economic and cultural vision of Africa in becoming, in a world in change. Delirium had the honor to meet it at the time of a concert in Lille (France). Africa in creation...
Which is your glance on the African culture compared to universalization?
I have a very positive vision of the African culture compared to universalization. The family is for me the engine, the base of a company which tends towards a social harmony, economic and cultural. Today, Africa succeeded in preserving this spirit of family and that is inevitably a protection for its culture with respect to universalization. Our culture is certainly not safe from the influence of the Western company but us should fight not to let it vanish. The problem of the African company compared to the occident in this world which is universalized, it is precisely the lack of thinking heads to protect, and promote this so rich and diversified culture. We need much more intellectuals, that for the development of Africa in all the fields.
Do you think that the deficiency of frameworks and intellectuals remains one of the principal reasons in the process of development of Africa ?
Yes, absolutely. Let us take the democracy that the Occident reproaches us for not knowing to manage. How many African do they vote while knowing why do it? In which countries? The countries are composed of 70 to 80% of illiterates who do not even have the possibility of analyzing the in the future dependent problems of their country. The students, the executives and intellectual African who returns to Africa after a university or professional stay have evil to make benefit from their experiment on the spot because of incomprehension due to the lack of instruction. They are found vis-a-vis with a difficulty of communication.
Why according to you, your step mized on education and the instruction does not have?
Africa had a too accelerated formation, us thus kept all the bad sides of them. The developed countries like France and England put hundreds of years to assimilate what one transmitted to us in only a few tens of years. We thus retained development opulence, the beauty. We did not take time to learn the lessons from education for progress and the development. Perhaps it is necessary to re-examine the education of African. In the business management for example, African cannot always dissociate work and the family or the friends. The managers of undertakings undergo a pressure of the family and friends, which creates in them a desire to divert money of the companies that they direct, to satisfy their close relations. That occurs as well in the public the private one. It is necessary to be given for goal to work for the development of the country. It is true that the family is our base but it is the compliance with the rules to make evolve/move the country which will give even more smell to the family.
And which should be the contribution of the culture to make evolve/move mentalities?
It must be an overall movement, all the fields must evolve/move at the same time. As regards culture it is initially necessary to preserve what one has i.e. a very great cultural diversity, to cultivate the direction of the family more because all the solutions are in the love. When there is love on a continent, one feels concerned by the same goal, the same objectives thus one leaves inevitably in the same direction. We must progress while taking care to avoid the errors which one made the Westerners, while drawing from the lessons of their failures. In the field of the environment for example, I would like well that one decides in Mali to issue one day without Mobylette and motor bike, one would circulate à.vélo in prevention against pollution. It is as of today that it is necessary to envisage this kind of problems. The asses for example one could make use of it to draw from the carts rather than to circulate in the car in a country where only less than 10% of the roads are bituminized.
What the musician that you are brings to Africa in his development?
I believe that what already the African artists for this continent did, few policies did it. The African politicians too often privileged their personal interests compared to those their fellow-citizens.
I appreciate the good work which some make, but they are not majority. To come from there to the artists, the fact of going to sing in various countries, to convey the African music brings to Africa a certain respect throughout the world. Today the African culture is recognized outside mainly thanks to the work completed by the African musicians. We will continue in this direction, and we much more open and are satisfied of our personal success that the politicians. From your beginnings in Bamako with your arrival in France while passing Abidjan, the things went very quickly after a short period of difficult integration.
You were immediately noticed by majors compagny. Don't all the African musicians evolving/moving in Europe have this privilege?
I quite simply regard that as a chance. I am certain that there are artists who have much more talent than me but which does not have the privilege that I have to today sell of the discs and to turn throughout the whole world. I think that the life is thus made. One cannot all have in all the fields, me I had it in the music.
You côtoyé the largest musicians of the world, you turn with a group made up to as a majority of Westerners, but your music is always also African. How do you explain that?
The music does not have a border. The musicians who work with me feel the music by the heart and the heart. The direction of opening of a musician must enable him to be impregnated in does not import. Which music as from the moment when it puts heart at it. In my case the bases are made by Salif Keïta thus systematically the ideas are African dice the departure, it is something from which I cannot escape. I recognize that I have exceptional musicians who give me the advisability of also sharing their musical sensitivity.
Which councils would you give young African musicians who dream to have the career that you have?
The first council is never to discourage themselves, and always sink. What everyone must know it is that the life does not start with happiness. New born is announced initially by a cry which represents a little the fear of the contact of the life, it is the preparation with suffering which will generate happiness. The life does not start with happiness. It is always necessary to fight, never not to lower the arms, that will end up ending in the victory, happiness. As long as there is the faith in what one does the sufferings must be useful like experiment, it is necessary to benefit from it but one never should capitulate. In the music it is always necessary to advance, all the meetings which one are important, should be accepted the openings make, to be curious, like the others and to listen to them, seek to include/understand. While following all that I have just enumerated success finishes by you arriving.
What do you keep Ambassadors of Mali, the group which made known to you in Africa?
I keep of it good memories and experiment especially.
Collected by N. A. (2000)
Salif Keïta Discography