Harouna Samake (Mali)

Website: https://www.oneworldsmusic.com/harouna-samake

Harouna Samake. Groovy & uplifting Kamale Blues from Mali “One of Mali’s most versatile and exciting bands” – Simon Broughton, Songlines Magazine

The groovy Harouna Samake is regarded as Mali’s Kamale N’Goni player number one. He perfomed internationally with Salif Keita, and has recorded on more than 50 albums. Among those, 5 albums of Salif Keita, and others with Blick Bassy, Bella Flick, Etienne Mbappé, Bassekou Kouyate and many others.

Harouna Samake was born in Dissan, Circle de Bougouni, in the Region of Sikasso, Mali in 1974. He started to play the ancient West African instrument Kamale N’Goni at the age of 8, when he fell in love with the instrument seeing someone playing it in his village. At 7 he had started to play on the one stringed Pati Kolombani. When he saw the N’goni, he collected a calabash and a branch for the handle, and found some strings too. Now he needed the leather and he couldn’t find it in his village. But he met a N’Goni player who gave him his old skin, as he had just hunted a gazelle to change on his instrument. His name was Zoumana Traoré Dit Zoumana Barani. Harouna then went to another N’Goni player to ask him for help to ensemble his pieces into an instrument. His name was Amara Bocher, and he build Harouna’s first N’Goni- As Harouna did not have money to pay for the N’Goni, Amara asked Harouna to help him fill his traditional matras with hay, and all of Harouna’s friends helped with collecting the hay in the fields. Amara tuned the instrument, and when Harouna got it in his hands, it was as he could play anything coming to his mind.

It was a natural talent of his. There was no school in his village, and Harouna, instead of going to the neighbouring village to school with his brother, was chosen to work in the familly’s field. This became his fortune, as he then had more time to cultivate his music. Later on in life, stories certainly changed. He met Bonnie Riatt at ‘Festival sur le Dessert’ and they jammed by the fire light the whole evening. She invited him to tour with her, but he couldn’t make it, as he was touring with Salif Keita. But Bonnie Riatt liked Harouna’s playing so much and gave him his first guitar as a gift to thank for their time together. Since then, Harouna has toured for more than 18 years with Salif Keita, and with Les Amassadeurs, and has recorded on more than 50 albums, among those, 5 albums of Salif Keita that he also arranged. And then with Blick Bassy, Etienne Mbappé, Bassekou Kouyate and many others.

Harouna Samake ‘Kamale Blues’

In 2018 we recorded his first own full album at Harouna’s own studio, Sama Studio Records, in Bamako. Recording engenier Yaya Diarra. The album is produced by Carolina Vallejo & Harouna Samake, and mixed by Carolina Vallejo & Richard Plougmann. It is mastered by Richard Plougmann, Ventura Records, Copenhagen. ‘Kamale Blues’ was released on August 16th 2018 on One World Records.


Sali Sidibe, Wassoulou Foli , Stern’s Africa 1993
Madan Various – Verve Today 2002
Verve Records, Universal Music 2002
Laban (as Harouna Samaké) and 5 more… Salif Keita – M’Bemba ‎Universal Music Jazz France, EmArcy 2005
Mamani Keita & Nicolas Repac – Yelema
No Format, Universal Music France 2006
Kamoukie Various, Verve Today 2006 ‎(Verve Records, Universal Music Group
Musow – For Our Women and 1 more…
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – I Speak Fula, Sub Pop 2009
D’Gary Jam and 1 more… Béla Fleck – Throw Down Your Heart (Tales From The Acoustic Planet Vol. 3 Africa Sessions) Rounder Records 2009
Horoscope (as Harouna Samaké) La Chanson Du Dimanche – Plante Un Arbre ‎(CD, Album, Ope) La Pêche Production 2009
Blick Bassy – Léman ‎(CD, Album, Dig) World Connection 2009
Gagner L’argent Français (as Harouna Samaké) Mamani Keita & Nicolas Repac – Gagner L’argent Français, No Format, Universal Music Jazz France, Universal Music Jazz France 2011
Blick Bassy – Hongo Calling, World Connection, World Connection 2011
Zani Diabaté & Les Héritiers – Tientalaw, Stern’s Music 2012
Take It On The Chin and 1 more… Dirtmusic – Troubles 2013
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Jama Ko, Out Here Records 2013
Black Night Blues Pour Les Émigrés (as Harouna Samaké) Moussa Diallo – Miniyamba (Walking Blues) Tiger Music, 2013
Djessou Mory Kanté – River Strings – Maninka Guitar, Stern’s Africa 2014
Yirimadjo (as Harouna Samaké) Trio Da Kali – Trio Da Kali, World Circuit 2015
Salif Keita – Talé, Cartell Music, Universal Music France, EmArcy
Sali Sidibe – Wale Gnouma Don ‎(Cass) Kabako Soundi
Etienne Mbappe – Su La Take, O+ Evolution 2008