I discovered Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba, when I was compiling a list of artists to be featured in this blog. I thought that they should be featured because the high pitched Ngoni (a stringed African instrument) is very captivating.
Bassekou Kouyate comes from the Ségou region of Mali, where he started playing the ngoni at the age of 12. His traditional musical habits come very much from his parents since his father was also a ngoni player and his mother was a praise singer. His musical career developed into a more professional career, when he moved to Mali's capital city, Bamako because he met Toumani Diabate (an artist featured in an earlier blog post) and became part of his trio and took part in recording the albums, Songhai and Djelika. He has also recorded music with many other Malian and international musicians such as Ali Farka Touré. He now has his own band, Ngoni ba, which is the first ngoni quartet in Mali. One of the members of the band is his wife, Amy Sacko. He and Sacko are often asked to perform at wedding parties in Bamako.
If you'd like to listen to more samples of their music, here are the links to their mp3 albums on Amazon: I Speak Fula and Segu Blue.