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Album Review

The West African lute called the ngoni is a little akin to its descendent, the banjo. In music from the region, it is often employed as part of groups with additional instrumentation. Bassekou Kouyate, who's worked with many Malian greats, takes it out of this context by leading a band with no less than four ngonis and producing some of the loveliest music to come from the area in recent years. Some of it is quite dramatic, like the opener, "Tabali Te," but for the most part there is a gorgeous, lulling gentility to everything. The material is all original, but with a traditional spirit and with much derived from the repertoire of the griots. The big exception is "Lament for Ali Farka," an elegy to Kouyate's late employer, the great Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré. Another local guitar player, Lobi Traoré, is featured on "Banani," and singer Zoumana Tereta is a guest on several cuts, showing off a very impressive voice. Put it all together and you have a disc that's nothing short of stunning.

Customer Reviews

musical gem!

The sound of the West African banjo, the n'goni, is the predominant voice on this recording. Many African pop records feature mostly western intruments, while this record features exclusively West African acoustic intruments. The voices, especially Ami Sacko, are magical! And Bassekou, himself, is a virtuoso. This recording takes you right to the heart of Mali. Highly recommended!


Genre: World

One of Mali’s most accomplished ngoni players, Bassekou Kouyate has lent his distinctive, swift-fingered style to dozens of the most successful traditional Malian records of the past two decades. While still a teenager he collaborated with the soon to be legendary kora player Toumani Diabate on a pair of classic albums, and has been in demand as a session player ever...
Full Bio
Segu Blue, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
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Customer Ratings