Habib Koité and Bamada.
I missed out on him in Essakane, I have been curiouse to say the least. Already during the day, when it is hot I am quite near him when he and his band mates drink beer, relaxe before the show in one of the little restaurants on the festival ground. I have my beer and watch from a close distance.
Habib Koité on the internet.
on Calabash Music, tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale, (like a kamale n'goni).
on African Musicians Profiles, Habib's music crosses all kinds of barriers. Africa is the richest continent from nearly every perspective. Habib's music is a shining example of that great wealth.
on leopardmannen. He doesn't play kora (West African harp), but guitar with a technique inspired by the kora.
on RockPaperScissors a review of his album Fôly! 2004.
Habib is famous on the international scene, has toured the US and Europe with multiple sold-out concerts' success, been invited recording with Bonnie Raitt and others, ...
Habib Koité is born into a griot (poet/story teller) family and has the Malian/African blues in his veins, has studied music at the National Institute of Arts in Bamako and is happy to look for inspiration anywhere (Cuban/Flamenco you can hear), anywhere where he finds it, it reveals his open mind.
His style is distinctively his acoustic guitar with its pentatonic tuning, then add in his "three octave" voice and all the traditional instruments, balafon (xylophone see Neba Solo), tamani (talking drum), n’goni (see Bassékou Kouyaté) and njarka (solo stringed violin) but as well harmonica or wooden flute.
Back in Vienna I listen to his music all the time. A constant reminder to finish off these pages and go back to Africa soon.
Other concerts earlier that day
25, Nampe Sadio is considered to be part of a new group of young Malian singers. Born into Manden (West African) musical tradition he seams ready to explore new horizons.
Heather A Maxwell's Africa Soul, a groovy, energetic performance. When I run into her a few days after the festival in Bamako I greet her by saying "Heather Maxwell, the hottest show in Segou", - it must have come from deep deep inside.
Super Biton (de Ségou)
One of the biggest orchestras of the 70s in Mali, so 30 years of music and still amazing. But some say this has not much to do with Super Biton as the group has changed round so many times.
Neba Solo's success begins with bringing perfection to playing his instrument, the (big) balafon. He plays it the "wrong way round" as they say, and he plays it "so quickly that you may think it plays by itself". He has his own label Frikyiwa, dedicated to fusion between African music and electronica
Griot Star from Segou with a perfect and magical voice. I like their way of singing (the Malian women's high pitched way of singing).
Some describe it this way "She sings in the style of the new generation of Mali's legendary griots, combining popular dance rhythms and traditional praise melodies". What ever, the music feels pop. and the band stays in the background, she is the boss.