Ami Koita was born in the Malian village of Djoliba, the same village where Salif Keita was born. Both arists sing in the traditional jalistyle, though Koita was born into a jalifamily, and Keita chose the path of a jali instead of the "freeborn" or "noble" class he was born to. Actually Ami Koita is really called a jalimusolu, a female griot singer.
Koita's soaring voice, attitude, and presence has made her a role model for all of Mali's contemporary women. As she sings:
"I am proud to be a griot, I become a bird and fly above the people."