was born in Djoliba at the eve of the African independences(early fifties),
at 40 kilometres from Bamako, in the heart of the deep "Mande",
on the borders of the Niger River and a few-hour walk from Guinea.
Her mother is from Kirina, place of the famous fight of Sundiata
Keïta at the XIII century. She's proud of her pure Mandingo
origins. She lost her father at the age of 3. This one, Bengaly
Fodé Koïta, traditionalist of the pure and hard line, is still well-known
in Mali for his contribution to the historic of the kings' and emperors'
of Mande conquests such as Sundiata Keïta,
and to the different colonial battles led by war chiefs such as Samory
Touré, emperor of the wassoulou, Babemba king of Sikasso, Tiramangan
Traoré, Fakoly Doumbia, El Hadj Oumar Tall etc.
At her father's death, she goes to Bamako with her mother but she will
always have special links with Djoliba. Her grand-mother, who reached
the age of 100 and died in 1992, stays her constant inspiration source
by her model of Mandingo purity in opposition to the hybrid language
and culture of the great towns.
Wa Kamissoko, her mother's brother, famous
international historian because he has written with Youssouf Tata Cissé
a part of the Mandingo history (Les Grandes Gestes du Mali); will take
care of her education during 20 years.
Amy is from a griot
family. Her father, by his fidelity to the old chief of Djoliba memory,
made the vow to never praise again after his death. So she learned
-with her mother: for the songs and the vocal fluctuations very important
for the griots.
-with her grand mother: the behaviour, the sensitiveness, the respect
of the traditions, and
-with her uncle, Wa Kamissoko, the knowledge
of true history, without any deformation, in perfect harmony with music.
follows her mother in all her representations. She then learned the
vocal techniques and the rules of the behaviour of a woman of honour.
At 12, she's already a star in demand in all the children parties. Amy
was revealed in 1966, during a singing competition organized in Mali
to recruit the best voices and knowledge of history for the National
Instrumental Ensemble of Mali.
It's the beginning of a lightning carrier.
At 17, she enters the famous and glorious National
Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, with which she makes
tours and discovers the greatest scenes of the world. She also makes,
with this ensemble, her first recording in studio at radio Mali.
In 1977, at the Festival of Negro arts in Lagos (Nigeria), she makes
herself noticed near the greatest voices of Africa, among which were
Sory Kandia Kouyaté
of Guinea, fact that pushes her, as soon as she's back in Mali, to leave
the National Instrumental
Ensemble of Mali to make a solo carrier.
In 1978, her first tape is put on sale. Since this moment, griots produced
themselves only for private partners. She's among the first artists
who have inversed this tendency.
As well as her melodious voice even when shrilling, her extraordinary
transmission of history, Amy is also admired for the quality of her
compositions. She found her inspiration in the tradition which she enriches
with the contact of modernity. "When I tried modern orchestration,
she says, I was afraid to loose my elder fans, but in the contrary,
they were the first to encourage me". In fact, this very limited
modernity doesn't destroy at all the large and quiet Mandingo swaying
on which Amy's voice explodes in the purest
tradition of clarity and liberty.
Amy Koïta made her first recordings at the national
radio diffusion of Mali in 1975 accompanied of Adama Danté at
In 1976 and 1978 accompanied of Guesseré Mama
Drame at the N'Goni.
performance that confirmed the astonishing charisma of this singer was
the one she gave at the UNESCO for the “Felix
Houphouët Boigny” prize giving ceremony in front
of the presidents François Mitterrand (France),
Mario SOARES (Portugal), Queen Beatrice
from the Nederland, of Jacques Chirac and Frederico
Mayor, General Secretary of the UNESCO. The jury of this ceremony
was composed of eminent personalities of politic, science, economy,
culture and international press.