Kerfala Kanté was born a griot. Son of Soungarou Kemo Kanté and Yansana Kourouma, he started playing balafon since young age. When he was 15 years old, he took up the acoustic guitar and soon this instrument too had no secrets for him. He played at ceremonies such as weddings and christening parties.
His talent had been recognised and he joined the Tropical Djoli Band in 1980. During that period he was successful with a song he had wrote, « Deni Kéléni ».