“To all the rock ‘n’ rollers of the USA, I’m coming in February, 2010!”
That’s Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate with a heads-up well worth heeding. A virtuoso picker and musical visionary whose work blurs the lines between West African and American roots music, Bassekou has jammed with Bonnie Raitt and Bono, won praise from Eric Clapton. He’s also dug into blues and country music with Taj Mahal and created freewheeling improvisations with banjo maverick Bela Fleck. Bassekou’s instrument, the ngoni, is a “spike lute” and an ancestor of the banjo, sharing its taut-skinned drum body, percussive attack, and varied picking techniques. Since 2005, Bassekou has led Ngoni Ba, the first-ever group built around not one but four ngonis—all played by members of his family. The group’s second CD I Speak Fula comes out on Sub Pop imprint Next Ambiance in February of 2010 (preceded by a digital release via iTunes in December ‘09) on the occasion of Bassekou’s first U.S. tour as a headliner. Bela Fleck will join the group on stage for a number of shows, guaranteeing a storm of string-picking ecstasy.
Bassekou was born in 1966 in Garana, a village on the banks of the Niger River at the heart of the old Bamana Empire (1712-1861). He descends from a long line of griots, traditional historians and praise musicians. His father Moustapha Kouyate played the ngoniba, or “large lute,” and his mother Yakare Damba is a singer. Moustapha never allowed himself to be recorded, despite many attempts by Radio Mali. Young Bassekou at first seemed more interested in football than music, so his father was surprised to discover that the boy was a natural player who could master…
Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate is a virtuoso picker and musical visionary whose work blurs the lines between West African and American roots music. Bassekou’s instrument, the ngoni, is a…
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- No tour dates scheduled at this time.
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba 1
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba 2
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba 3
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba Live
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate 1
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate 2
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Kouyate 3
- Promo Photo - Bassekou Portrait