Earlier this year Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba from Mali released their debut album Segu Blue to exceptional critical acclaim. This summer they toured Europe for the first time and have no doubt established themselves as one of the most exciting live acts of the moment – and not only within the World Music genre. Amongst their many performances in Europe was the famous Roskilde Festival. While performing at the La Mar de Músicas Festival in Spain, Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour joined them on stage (see attached photo).
In the UK they made their debut performance at Jamie Renton’s Chilli Fried night at Darbucka on 11 July 2007 which The Guardian gave four stars in their review. This was followed by a gig in Brighton and an appearance at the Lord Mayor’s Appeal Fiesta in London. Then, on 24 July, the group played at a packed out Kemia Bar at MOMO’s to a mainly industry crowd – this turned out to be one of the highlights of the tour.Their debut at the WOMAD Festival started with a headlining performance on the BBC Radio 3 Stage on the Friday night. On the Saturday they performed again, this time in the Siam Tent. In between live shows they found time for various press interviews as well as radio interviews on the African and French Service of BBC World Service and Open Air Radio (African Essence). Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba also recorded a live session for Charlie Gillett’s World of Music program which was broadcast on 24 August on the BBC World Service.
Charlie Gillett’s annual ‘Sound of the World’ compilation album, released during Bassekou’s time in the UK, features the group’s track ‘Ngoni Fola.’ At the album launch party Bassekou Kouyate and his wife, the group’s vocalist, Ami Sacko played an intimate set that showed a different side to the more rocking performances with the full band.
The next UK and European tour is currently being planned for November. UK dates include 4 November at Cargo in London and on 22 November at the Norwich Arts Centre. Full details to be announced soon.
In other related news, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s latest album ‘Red Earth’ which features Bassekou Kouyate has just been nominated in the ‘Best Jazz’ category a the MOBO 2007 Awards. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba’s track ‘Banani’ which features Lobi Traore is included on the covermount CD of the current issue of Uncut celebrating 20 years of World Music.
Buy Segu Blue (import).
BBC Radio 3 Stage full set: click here.