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Habib Koite & Bamada

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 on the instrument that he was accepted at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) -- remaining there four years after his graduation in 1982 to teach guitar. From his early days, he hasn't played just in the standard Western tuning, but also traditional Malian tunes to make his instrument mimic the traditional n'goni (a four-string lute) and kamele n'goni, or young man's harp, with six strings, giving a richness and native texture to his work. Being at NIA afforded him the opportunity to play with some of the country's top musicians, including the likes of kora giant Toumani Diabaté.

It wasn't until he was 30 that Koité decided to form a band, Bamada, and they toured extensively throughout Mali, before heading to the Perpignan Voxpole Festival in France in 1991, where they took first prize. That brought them the chance to record two songs, one of which, "Cigarette A Bana" ("The Cigarette Is Finished"), became a hit across West Africa, to the extent that children would sing its chorus in the streets. That led to another single, "Nanale" ("The Swallow"), and the Discovery of 1993: Media-Adami Award by Radio France International. In the wake of that, came Koité's first album, Muso Ko, which topped the European World Music charts (released in the U.S. 1999 on Alula Records). While many Malian musicians interpreted the tradition, artists who used it as a springboard for their own writing were -- and still are -- rare. But Koité's studies had grounded him in regional styles and rhythms, while his guitar work was strong and often subtle, enough to take in the music and spit it out as something new and fresh. As he said, "My way to play traditional music is to adapt the sounds of the traditional instruments from Mali through my acoustic guitar."

By the time Ma Ya appeared -- it became his first American release, early in 1999 -- Koité had matured, both as a writer and a player. Socially conscious, his work had the natural infectiousness of good pop music, with the solid rhythmic and melodic base of Mali. The album, he stated was meant to be "a musical voyage through Mali. I give myself the freedom to move from one rhythm to another." Like Koité, Bamada had also come a long way, offering imaginative, sympathetic backing to his material and voice, although there was no doubt who was the star of the show. In summer 2001, he released his third disc, Bora. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I love my Roots....:-)
n bamada belly belly
constance993
Simply an amazing artist. Saw his tour back Berkeley, CA back around 2000. He toured with his band Bamada. Will be seeing him again next month in San Francisco. Brothers in Bamako. Will be a different show for sure.
Love this artist & the beautiful music that is made!
eaajeroh
Habib Koite is amazing.
That's what I'm talkin bout!
A ka nyi kosebe! Habib is one of my favorites.
not sure how he ended up on my sanza, but heard this for first time tonite while jogging and it blew me away, came home and plugged in Pandora to hear =some more........ . . . . . . g r e a t stuff....... . . . . . . . . . .
I love the song din din wo by them Habib is the bestest!
Fantastic show in Ogden, Utah (of all places) to close out their American Tour last friday night (4/9/2010).
Saw the band last week in San Francisco--s e v e n outrageous master musicians on one stage. When Habib spent about ten minutes playing his amazing guitar WHILE wandering through the audience WHILE the band jammed like crazy, he came to our table, asked how we were doing, then sat with us for a full minute as I clapped a clave pattern for him. I think I may have visited heaven that night.
(PS--check out their live double CD, "Foly!")
stephanie_fi l l y a w
Totally agree with me.nanda I fell in love with Koite via Vista. It grew from there lol Thanks Windows haha
amjanney
LOVE Habib Koite and Bamada - picked it as a radio station but no Koite being played... why is that?
Glad I like all the other stuff I'm hearing!!
orbus1
DIN DIN WO
orbus1
I KA Barra
One of the best things about Windows Vista is its sample music, with two Koite songs... Microsoft might not make great software, but someone there certainly has good taste in music!

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