Malian musician Salif Keita had an uphill battle on his way to become the country's most renowned singer/songwriter. A direct descendent of Mali's royal family, he was forbidden by custom to become a musician, but he boldly cast aside tradition. A vision-impaired albino, he also had to contend with his culture's superstitions about albino Africans. Nonetheless, in the '60s he began a career that moved through the pioneering Rail Band, through work with the jazz/funk-influenced Les Ambassadeurs, finally emerging as a formidable solo artist in the '80s. His pan-ethnic style incorporates R&B, rock, and jazz along with traditional Malian sounds, and his is a familiar name in the world music Grammy category.