• Amkoullel
Singer, Song writer/composer, Rapper, Producer
Principal country concerned : Column : Music, Theater, Poetry / story telling


"Malian rapper Amkoullel is part of a new wave of African hip hop artists, at once powerfully contemporary and well versed in tradition. He is a rapping, dancing, beat-boxing dynamo on stage, but there is no mistaking Mali in his mix, in the languages, rhythms, and sound scape. Amkoullel recently made his first appearances in New York City and was wonderful. With charisma to match his creativity, Amkoullel is the face of a new African music, absolutely an artist to watch as African hip hop defines itself and builds an international following, as other African genres have in the past." Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide - April 2011

Issiaka Bâ, is one of the most talented and ?conscious' Malian rappers of his generation
His stage name is taken from a novel by one of Mali's most noted authors/historian/philosopher - Hamadou Hampaté Bâ - in order to pay homage to all African cultures. Actually Amkoullel was the nickname of his direct illustrious ascendant, from which he has also inherited the will and ability to harmoniously combine traditional and contemporary global cultures and to promote individual and social responsibility. As the leader of Hip Hop in Mali, Amkoullel is committed to keep this movement positive and respectful of traditional oral culture.

Hip Hop for education, the voice of the voiceless
Amkoullel started working seriously on his rap when his first radio experience at the age of 13 was banned by the auditors. A year later he was organising his first rap concert with his scholarship money. He left to France to study Law (paying himself for his studies in doing the worse night jobs) and released a first album Infaculté loaded with texts against ignorance. In entering the exam room, he realized his life would be torn apart between the Arts and the Law and it was obvious he would rather be the voice of the voiceless on stage rather than in court. Then he released a second album Surafin (?Bribe') and toured extensively with Cheikh Tidiane Seck. He also appeared alongside Manu Dibango, Keziah Jones, Rokia Traoré and has notably supported Alpha Blondy, Lobi Traoré and Tiken Jah Fakoly. In 2007 he was offered to go back home and co-run Mali K7, Ali Farka Toure's record company. He then created his own label Woklo Barka Prod to produce his third album Waati Sera (?It's Time !') that proved to be both a militant opus against Africans' disdainful self-image and a beautiful harmonious musical blend of traditional African instruments and the most contemporary popular musical genres, arousing the attention of even the most refined audience.
Amkoullel is now touring with his own band mixing traditional and contemporary instruments, known as the first Malian hip hop live band including also two dancers. He founded the first Hip Hop school, the Farafina Club, and the Mali Hip Hop Association which brings together artists, media and professionals. Amkoullel also is the host of Case Sanga, a heavily viewed Malian variety show, like America's "American Idol", which brings forth new talent and is gaining in popularity in francophone Africa. In 2009, Amkoullel was honoured at the Mali Hip-Hop Awards three times, booked to headline at the Waga Hip Hop festival and to perform in one of the major Mexican festivals.

Hip Hop without boarders
Ne Ka Mali !! (Mon Mali!!) the new album released in Mali in May 2010 is not only an invitation to discover Africa through the eyes of Amkoullel, but also a call into question the notions of ?the other'. Rapping and flowing in French and Bambara, Amkoullel touches on vital social issues such as education and African unity. Accompanied by Didier Awadi, one of African Hip-hop's fathers, and an illustrious compatriot Xuman, Amkoullel presents other regional well-known performers ; as French spoken word artists RIM and CANDIIE put it in the album introduction: ?Nothing is black nor white, there are always loads of colors in between'.
2010 is the year of internationalization with an international management and a digital record label and distribution. He also appears on international compilations by Nomadic Wax, Afrolution and OIF. The creation of the first Koterap musical BAMA SABA launched at the famous French Avignon festival is making a stir as well as his participation to a poetry and literature festival that brings him into the intellectual French media. 2011 starts with the infamous Festival in the Desert, and launches a promising international carrier as Amkoullel, invited by American universities and students organisations committed to education and social change through Hip Hop, tore up the best clubs in NY and LA before selling out his first gigs both in France and the UK.

Amkoullel's summary, discography and videos
2011 Festival in the Desert, US tour, promotion and performances in the UK and France

2010 New Album Ne Ka Mali ! ! international digital release on 51 Lex Records/The Orchard
Hip Hop musical BAMA SABA launched at the Avignon Festival - Amkoullel presents Case Sanga 3, broadcast in 8 African countries on Africable- Festival Ollinkan, Mexico - compilation Afrolution Vol. 2 - ?Kalan' is the hit of the Malian bike tour with RFI

2009 Mali Hip Hop Awards : ?Farafina' Best single of the year / best video/ best featuring
Hip Hop Kanou Création - Waga Hip-hop headliner (Burkina Faso) - Téléthon concert organised by Salif Keita with top Malian artists

2008 Live concerts in Mali - Star presenter of Case Sanga 2 the music talent reality show on Africable

2007 Tamani d'Or of the best Malian rapper (Malian music award) - 3rd album release Waati Sera

2004 tours as part of Cheikh Tidiane Seck band

2003 2nd album Surafin

2002 1st album Infaculté

1993 First rap concert

Compilations / mixtapes
2011 Diaspora Mixtape 2 Nomadic Wax

2010 Afrolution Volume 2 Compilation

2009 Francophonie 2009 Compilation

2006 Polygamix 2 par John Brutal, Bool Champion et Zemtsov Connexion.

2005 Dancehall Airlines in Roots du Sound by Tarzan and Mani2.

2004 Mali Faranci by Amkoullel - Teach dem inna di dance by Mani2 - Quality Streetz by Tarzan and Ewone - Polygamix by John Brutal & Zemtsov Connexion

1998 Sortie de l'ombre by Dj Lugz

Ne Ka Mali!! Album Kalan Sinin ?
Mèlèkènin Les Soirées à Bamako

Waati Sera album Farafina Nènè Pompiers

Bama Saba Hip Hop musical created by Lassy King Massassy, Ramsès
& Amkoullel

Hip Hop Kanou Le poids des mots / Creation by Nouvel R, Amkoullel,
Shanana & MicMo Lion

Interview in French

EPK in English

And more on Facebook Twitter Souncloud

Booking / management / promotion BAM! Global Music Services Marie-Agnès ?mab' Beau Tel + 44 208 674 33 50 +44 79 19 05 14 61 skype : mabness

Biography supplied by the person concerned


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