Artist Profiles: Cheick-Tidiane Seck

Cheick-Tidiane Seck

Cheick-Tidiane Seck, keyboardist, composer, and performer of popular and traditional Malian music, is one of the most prolific, experienced, and perhaps even under-appreciated musicians from the Manding-speaking region of West Africa. He possesses a rich and undeniably interesting history, filled with a diverse range of musical encounters with such artists as Salif Keita, Mory Kante, Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour, Hank Jones, Carlos Santana, Joe Zawinul, and a host of others. As keyboardist, composer, bandleader, singer, arranger, Seck presents a telling portrait of the varied and complex nature of the musician in West Africa, one that often features the mixing of cultures and regions, contemporary and traditional, and global and local.

Seck is a member of the Tukolor people. He was born in Segu, raised in the fervor of decolonization. Seck’s childhood was spent learning the local traditions of his Manding cultural heritage, but like many West African musicians, he looked toward Western popular music for a new, complementary source of inspiration. During the early 1970s, Seck played with the hugely successful Rail Band du Buffet Hotel de la Gare in Bamako, Mali, with Mory Kante and Salif Keita.

During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Seck continued to play with Keita, both in the famed Les Ambassadeurs, but also on various solo projects of Keita’s, such as the hugely successful and influential album Soro. The 1980s and 1990s have witnessed continued success for Seck, both in his extensive worldwide recording and touring, highlighted by his collaboration with jazz great Hank Jones on the respected album Sarala in 1995.


Sarala (Gitanes Jazz Productions, 1995)
MandinGroove (Universal Music, 2003)
Sabaly (Universal Music, 2008)
Assassin Live band (Livin’ Astro, 2013)
Guerrier (Universal Music Classics, 2013)
Cheick-Tidiane Seck with the UCLA Griot Society and Friends: West African Music Meets Jazz (UCLA Ethnomusicology Publications)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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