This Famous African Singer Helped Track Islamists in Bamako Attacks

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One of my favorite African singers helped authorities find the people responsible for the recent attacks in Bamako, Mali.

Sekouba Bambino has been a lead singer in both the powerhouse Guinean band Bembeya Jazz National but also in the Afro-Latin band Africando, which made some of the tastiest tropical Afro-Cuban music ever.

Bambino, 51, was staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako when the attacks took place. From his hotel room, he could hear the terrorists speaking — in English no less — while they reloaded their automatic rifles (the fact that they spoke English was key in finding the assassins). His involvement in helping identify the perpetrators was outlined by several news sources; I found my info via Daily Beast.

Bambino was born in 1964 to a Malian mother, in the village of Kintinya in neighboring Guinea; he descends from 50 generations of griots, the traditional oral historians and storytellers of Africa. They recount Africa’s past, and sometimes are considered the world’s original rappers. I have always loved his voice and music, whether on solo albums or in his work with Bembeya. You can hear him performing in a very traditional style in the video above.