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Editors’ Notes

Mali is often regarded as a crown jewel of African music, filled with a wide variety of musical traditions and some of world’s finest musicians. Malian singer/songwriter/guitarist Habib Koite has become a leading musical figure at home and an active ambassador abroad over the last 20 years. On Soo (which means “Home”), he inclusively celebrates his war-torn country by singing in Malinke, Bambara, and Dogon, as well as English, on topics ranging from soccer to circumcision, arranged marriage to peaceful coexistence. Despite the weighty subject matter, these West African acoustic pop tunes are sunny, riding on the back of his buoyant guitar with a young new band providing kalabash and djembe percussion, rich background vocals, keyboards, funky African bass, and even a little banjo (check out “L.A.”). Standouts include the galloping “Diarabi Niani” and “Terere,” where kora great Toumani Diabate and n’goni player Bassekou Kouyate join in. There are a few solo numbers—the instrumental “Djadiry” and a griot-inspired “Drapeau”—that find Koite playing, singing, and whistling to fine effect as well.

Customer Reviews

Excellent

A fan of Habib Koite new album is good every album there's always something different

Biography

Born: 1958 in Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The West African country of Mali has produced some great musicians. But as they age, people have wondered who'll step forward from the next generation. The big answer to that seems to be Habib Koité, who comes from the Khassonké griot tradition, that's the hereditary caste of musicians, but whose eyes are firmly on the future. Born in 1958, his lineage made music a part of his life and it was in order to accompany his mother's singing that he taught himself to play guitar, showing enough ability...
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Soo, Habib Koité
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