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Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

After his celebrated debut Segu Blue which was performed all over the globe, Malian legend and ngoni ace, follows up with Grammy nominated I Speak Fula. The new album Jama ko, released in 2013, includes guests such as Taj Mahal, Khaira Arby and Kasse Mady. Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire) recorded the album in Mali with Mocky Salole (Feist) providing organ and drums. The jeli ngoni is the traditional stringed-instrument of Mande griot singers. With overdriven pentatonic runs which recall the electric desert blues of Tinariwen or Ali Farka Touré, Kouyate deftly balances the beautiful acoustic tones of his band, creating a striking future-ancient sound. Jama Ko was recorded in the midst of a military coup that has brought terrible unrest to Mali. One of the true masters of the ngoni, Kouyate has been described as a musical visionary, blurring the lines between West African and American roots music. San Francisco Jazz Organization noted “As a griot, Kouyate traces his musical lineage back to the wealthy West African empire founded by Sundiata Keita in the 13th century, when his ancestors entertained the royal court. Every note that he plays on the ngoni, embodies a tradition handed down for dozens of generations. But that’s not to say Kouyate is shackled to the past. Determined to enhance the music’s visibility, he assembled Ngoni Ba, combining the energy of a rock band with the emphatic call-and-response choruses of a gospel ensemble.”

When: Sep 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Gibson Theatre
Sarah Hammer '13
Phone: (607) 735-1853
email: boxoffice@elmira.edu