Two of Mali’s greatest talents unite for this special concert that celebrates Mali’s world music royalty. Bassekou Kouyaté is a musical visionary and one of Africa’s greatest instrumentalists. Performing on thengoni, an ancestor of the banjo, his work blurs the lines between West African and American roots music. Fatoumata Diawara sings about love, politics, and empowerment, creating a contemporary folk sound with a distinctly African spin. Diawara is “the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time.” (Telegraph)
Program Book [PDF]
Bassekou Kouyaté website
Fatoumata Diawara website
Bassekou Kouyate has been called one of the true masters of the ngoni, an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa. He has collaborated with many musicians in and outside of Mali, including as one of the key musicians on Ali Farka Toure’s posthumous album Savane. After his celebrated debut albumSegu Blue and the Grammy-nominated follow up I speak fula, he releases his new album Jama ko in 2013.
Paris-based Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Mali. Having worked as an actress early in her career, she turned her focus to music and released the critically-acclaimed debut album Fatou in 2011. She has also contributed vocals to albums by Cheikh Lô, AfroCubism, and Herbie Hancock’s Grammy–winning Imagine Project, among others. Fatou was released by Nonesuch Records in the U.S. in 2012.
This concert marks Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba’s second performance under UMS auspices, following their UMS debut in February 2010 with Béla Fleck as part of the Africa Project. We welcome Fatoumata Diawara for her UMS debut performance.