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Bassekou Kouyate ir Ngoni Ba (Mali)


  • March 28th 7pm club "Oaze, Kaunas
  • March 29th 7pm KEISTUOLIAI Theatre, Vilnius


  • Bassekou Kouyate: lead ngoni
  • Amy Sacko: lead vocal
  • Mamadou Kouyate: ngoni bass
  • Mahamadou Tounkara: yabara, tama (percussions)
  • Moctar Kouyate: calebasse


  • Two BBC Radio 3 Awards (‘Best Album’ and ‘Best African Artist’).
  • Nomination for a Grammy Award.
  • #1 on the 2013 World Music Charts Europe (by Mojo and Uncut).
  • ‘Artist Of the Year’ for 2014 (by Songlines).
  • Has played with Toumani Diabate, Taj Mahal, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Damon Albarn.

Bassekou Kouyate (Mali) is one of the most famous now day’s ngoni instrument masters from Western Africa. This performer was nominated for “Grammy” and also he is an ambassador of ngoni, a visionary of African music and he has won over the sympathies of music lovers all over the world. He did revived one of the oldest instruments from Mali and that’s how he managed to make a connection between his ancestors and XXI century. He managed to combine blues, rock and roll, jazz and traditional sound of Mali. Unique sound he is able to create by mixing up Mali music and popular sounds of African and American styles helped him to win many awards.

Bassekou Kouyate has created new ngoni that is an instrument made of few – traditional lute, a distance ancestor of a banjo and one of the oldest string instruments from Africa. He got name of musical modernist and a revolutionary because of his new ngoni. A traditional ngoni has three strings and is made out of pumpkin and wood. This instrument was used as backing instrument and also as a part of some rituals for centuries. Bassekou Kouyate added strings to this instrument, created new methods of playing it and made it popular by experimenting with some sound effect like wah-wah pedals. Now this instrument is used by many music groups from Mali. Bassekou Kouyate showed that this instrument that was thought had limited possibilities has more vide range of melodies and could be used more universally. It could even be used to play western music styles. That’s how he ensured a name for himself as an author of ngoni music that sounds electronically blues – rock, also a virtuoso and innovator.

Bassekou Kouyate has worked with many performers from Mali and other countries. “Symetric trio” has played with an extraordinary performer Toumani Diabate (kora) and Keletigui Diabate, participated in Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate project “Kulujan”, was one of the main performers on Ali Farka Toure album “Savane” that has won a “Grammy”. He left unforgettable impression as a solo performer of ngoni when he was on a tour with Ali Farka Toure.

His album “Segu Blue” (2007) won album of the year award and he won an award in category African performers of the year in “BBC Radio 3” “Awards for World Music”. His record “I Speak Fula” (2009) was nominated for “Grammy”. After those win he participated in “AfroCubism” project as one of the main musicians. He has played together with Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Damon Albarn, Bonnie Raitt, Bono, Carlos Santana, Jackson Brown, Bela Fleck. He participated in many new shows of “Africa Express” and got praised by such a legend as Eric Clapton.

His third album “Jama Ko” (2013) was recorded during coup d'etat that took place in March of 2012. This album is a statement of Bassekou Kouyate about ongoing crisis and about repression in Mali. He was produced by Howard Bilerman (he has worked with “Arcade Fire”, “Godspeed You! Black Emeror”). He was recorded featuring Taj Mahal, Khaira Arby, Mocky Salole and many others. An album “Jama Ko” was awarded as the album of the year in world music category in “World Music Charts Europe” in 2013. This album also was named the best album in world music category by “Les Inrockuptible”, “Mojo”, “Uncut” and other magazines.

New album “Ba Power” (2015) by Bassekou Kouyate defines his career and is full of mesmerizing songs, sharp reefs and overflowing emotions. This record is elegant, has precision and leaves unforgettable impression. This record connects the performer with the world in many ways that couldn’t be imagined ten years ago. This recorded consolidates the performer as one of the most relevant performers of XXI century.
Bassekou Kouyate was born in small village Garana in Mali in 1966. This village is multicultural and only 60 kilometers away from Segou city near Niger River. He is a descendant of an old griot (heritable line of musicians, keeps old traditions of African music) family from both sides. He started to play ngoni when he was twelve years old. He learned that from his father.

Bassekou Kouyate founded his band “Ngoni Ba” in 2005. This quartet is formed out of many different sizes and tonalities ngoni instruments. It was unusual idea and at the same time an old one. To colonial Segou leaders had bands that were up to 40 ngoni performers. His wife Amy Sacko is a performer in quartet too. She is a wonderful singer of griot and has a name of Mali’s Tina Turner. Bassekou Kouyate sons also are the part of a quartet - Madou and Mustafa Kouyate. The “Ngoni Ba” has inspired audiences all over the world. They performed in “Glastonbury”, “Roskilde”, “Fuji Rock Festival”, “North Sea Jazz Festival”, WOMAD and “Latitude” festivals and in most famous halls of the world. The “Ngoni Ba” was named the best rock and roll band in the world by BBC.

Bassekou Kouyate collaborated with “Aga Khan Foundation” and created project “Garana Roots” in 2016. This project keeps a tight connection between performer and his motherland – Garana village. Many of his relatives still lives in that village and also keeps tradition that is hundreds of years old of verbal music tradition.
Bassekou Kouyate journey makes him charismatic, brilliant and extraordinary. He is one of the most interesting and innovative performers of Africa. He has the name of the string prince. He has the courage to break traditions with his phenomenal performances and ideas. He has widened the boundaries of his native music heritage. Bassekou Kouyate is being congratulated by old masters of griot and ngoni that he brought the attention of the world to music that is beginning to perish.



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