Salif Keita was born to royal lineage, with roots going back to Soundjata Keita, a 13th century emperor. As a young man, he developed a passion for griot culture and decided to dedicate himself to music, even if it meant suffering a family disownment. During the 1970s, he joined two of Mali's most famous ensembles: the Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs. In 1984, the singer-songwriter became an international sensation after the release of Soro, his first solo album. Intensive touring further allowed Keita to broaden his fan base. At the end of the 1990s, he opened a studio in Bamako, where he produced up-and-coming Malian artists. After Moffou (2002) and M'Bemba (2005), the musician released La différence (2009), the third chapter in his acoustic trilogy.