The Mande art of jeliya carries a long and complex tradition of fine distinctions and endless debates about the qualities that earn its hereditary poets and musicians the highest accolades and honourifics. But on the great jelimusolu (female singers) of our time, there is near-unanimity regarding Kandia Kouyaté : she is a ngara, perhaps the only one of her generation. More than a skilled singer, a ngara possesses what many would say is a paranormal aura of majesty.

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