Of Malinké origin, Amara Kanté was born in Abidjan where he began drumming in traditional Malinké ceremonies at age 4. By age 7 he began touring as a professional artist throughout Africa, the United States and Europe with celebrated troupes such as Koteba D’Abidjan and Ballets Africains de Guinée. Interestingly, it was in Koteba Group that a young Amara Kanté first met and played alongside then fellow up and coming drummer now better known as iconic Master Djembefola extraordinnaire, Mr. Mamady Keita.
Amara’s skills as a musician and performer in the ballet style were further honed under the direct tutelage of his beloved mentor and friend, legendary West African Artistic Director Mr. Souleymane Koli of Koteba D’ Abidjan group. Other notable influences include: Kemo Sanou (Mervais D’ Guinea) who taught him techniques in the African ballet style, Fakuruba Diabaté under whom he apprenticed learning the Dundun drums, Adama Diarra (Conductor, Griot) under whom he also apprenticed.
His extensive professional experience continues to attract famous international artists such as Mory Kanté and Peter Gabriel. In 1997, he created the BENKAN FOLI troupe. In 1998, he fulfilled his aspiration by founding a Mandinka percussion school in Marseille, where he taught djembé, the dunun and the krin.