Sourakata Koité is born in 1955 in Malème, Senegal, a Malinke-speaking area). As Sourakata says, "All the Koité are musicians!" He is indeed a member of a family of djéli (or griot in french), the hereditary caste of musician-storyteller-historians in West Africa.
His musical life began early: at age three he began to play kora (a 21-string harp) with his uncle and brother; at 11 he performed with four members of his family as Les Griots (two koras, one bala, one djembé and one singer) in a piano-bar named Thiosan. When asked about his first musical memories, he replies, “We can't remember the taste of the baby bottle.”
Very curious and eclectic in his tastes, Sourakata listens and plays a wide range of styles—jazz, rock, reggae, funk, blues, classical. Relaxing in his apartment close to la porte des lilas in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, he listens to Bob Marley, James Brown and the online Malian music station Radio Wassoulo, excited by his recent return to international performances. “People should participate during the show!,” he says ; “They won't be able to hide, and it will give me courage!”