Pop, rock & jazz
Bassekou Kouyate & Band - Live 2024
Tuesday, 23/04/2024 / 08:00 PM / Jazzhaus Freiburg
He is "a genius and living proof that the blues originated in Mali", says Taj Mahal about his colleague Bassekou Kouyate. The link to the blues lies in the ancient instrument ngoni itself, a traditional West African long-necked lute, which is widely regarded as the African forerunner of the banjo. The undisputed master of the ngoni has made the instrument a household name. It is the combination of his virtuoso playing style and the numerous innovations he added to the ancient instrument, such as the addition of more strings and the introduction of effects devices such as a wah-wah pedal.
His breakthrough came with the Symmetric Orchestra, an all-star quartet he formed with Toumani Diabate and Keletigui Diabate. He was then chosen by the late Ali Farka Toure to play the lead ngoni on his famous last album 'Savane'. For Ali Farka Toure, Bassekou was "a diamond in the rough" in the Malian music scene. In 2007, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni B broke through on the international music market with his own group, the Ngoni quartet 'Ngoni B'. It is the first band consisting of four Ngonis and introduces the first Ngoni bass instrument.
Their debut album 'Segu Blue' earned them numerous BBC awards and marked the beginning of his international career, which has taken him around the world. With his virtuosity, he creates soundscapes that lie somewhere between blues, jazz, rock and traditional Malian music. He has worked with musicians such as Damon Albarn, Youssou Ndour, Michael League (Snarky Puppy) and Taj Mahal and was a long-time accompanist to Ali Farka Toure.
For over 20 years, he has toured internationally at renowned festivals (e.g. Glastonbury, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Fuji Rock Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival), in concert halls such as the Elbphilharmonie and in numerous clubs. Every concert is an experience and remains in the best memories of most visitors. Today, Bassekou performs with various line-ups. When he is not on the road with Ngoni B, he gives intimate duo concerts with his wife, the famous Malian singer Amy Sacko, represents Mali at official state ceremonies or experiments in a minimalist quartet format, supported only by vocals, an electric bass and drums.