Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba to return to the UK in November

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba to return to the UK in November

Mali’s ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate will be making a welcome return to the UK this November (4 November at Cargo in London and on 22 November at the Norwich Arts Centre) – together with his hugely talented band Ngoni Ba and the amazing vocalist Ami Sacko. They paid their first visit to the UK this summer when they won over audiences and critics alike at WOMAD and other festivals across Europe. Following the critically acclaimed release of Bassekou Kouyate’s debut album ‘Segu Blue’ earlier this year, the 7-piece group went on to wow audiences and critics alike with their rocking, high energy performances, establishing themselves as one of the most exciting live acts of the moment.

The ngoni is an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa and is one of Africa’s secrets still to be discovered. Unlike the kora whose history goes back only a few hundred years, the ngoni has been the main instrument in griot storytelling dating back to the 13th century, the days of Soundiata Keita, the founder of the Mali Empire. The repertoire Bassekou plays is Bambara music from the region of Segu which is pentatonic in nature and as close to the blues as you can get in Africa. As Taj Mahal puts it “Bassekou is a genius, a living proof that the blues comes from the region of Segu.” Bassekou is also the first musician to put together a ngoni quartet – Ngoni Ba (meaning “big ngoni”).

Bassekou Kouyate first made a name for himself collaborating with other musicians in and outside of Mali. He has played in the Symmetric Trio alongside Toumani Diabate (kora) and Keletigui Diabate (balafon) and was part of Taj Mahal’s and Toumani Diabate’s ‘Kulanjan’ project, as well as being one of the key musicians on Ali Farka Toure’s posthumous album ‘Savane’ (2006). Whilst touring with Ali Farka Toure, Bassekou left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide as the band’s solo ngoni player. Bassekou can also be heard on Youssou N’Dour’s forthcoming album ‘Rokku Mi Rokka’ and features on Dee Dee Bridgewater’s new album ‘Red Earth’.

The songs on Bassekou’s debut album ‘Segu Blue’ tell the story of one of the last pre-colonial Malian empires: the Bambara empire of Segu founded by Bitòn Mamary Coulibaly in 1712. It features guest musicians Kasse Mady Diabate, Lobi Traore, Lassana Diabate and singers Zoumana Tereta and of course Bassekou’s wife, Ami Sacko. The album was produced by Lucy Durán, recorded at studio Bogolan in Bamako by Yves Wernert and mixed in London by Jerry Boys (the man responsible for recording and mixing ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ amongst others).

‘Segu Blue’ is out now on CD and double vinyl.
(Out Here Records/ UK distribution by Proper Music)

“Malian lute master Bassekou Kouyate and his group, Ngoni Ba, were belting out their densely percussive music to a clearly enchanted [WOMAD] audience.” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
“Bassekou plays the ngoni with the virtuosity of a Jeff Beck or Jimi Hendrix.” EL PAIS (Spain)
“…dynamic stage presence that exploded with glorious combinations of the ngoni.” EL MUNDO (Spain)
“African album of the year? Quite possibly.” ***** THE INDEPENDENT
“In front of a wall of rhythm, Kouyate lets fly.” **** THE TIMES
“Both ancient and utterly contemporary …. like some African answer to Hendrix.” **** THE GUARDIAN
“This is fabulously resonant, hypnotic music.” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
“A compellingly beautiful and timeless record.” **** UNCUT
“Africa has a new star to replace the king of the blues from Timbuktu.” **** MOJO
“Glorious.” *** JAZZWISE
“… surprisingly intricate melodies being teased out of the ngoni… ” fROOTS
“A very special record that deserves the widest audience.” ***** SONGLINES (Top of the World album)


Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – UK dates:

Sunday, 4 November 2007 – LONDON Cargo
Antehc Productions & The Shrine present
BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA – one of the true masters of the ngoni plays live
& DJs MAX REINHARDT & RITA RAY [THE SHRINE] Visuals provided by Your Mum
Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, Kingsland Viaduct, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3AY
Box office: 020 7739 3440
Tickets: £10 (+ booking fee)
Advance tickets also available from: Ticketweb
Doors open 7pm, DJs from 8pm, band onstage 9.30pm

Thursday, 22 November 2007 – NORWICH Arts Centre
BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA – one of the true masters of the ngoni plays live
Norwich Arts Centre, St. Benedicts Street, Norwich NR2 4PG
Box office: 0160 3660 352
Tickets: £10/ £8 concessions (+ booking fee)
Doors open 7pm, band onstage 8.30pm

With support from African & Caribbean Music Circuit.
Media sponsor: fRoots Magazine


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Press Tickets:
Name: Ilka Schlockermann
Phone: 07932066624