Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Speak Fula?


Honestly, this music is almost impossible for this reviewer/music lover to describe.  It is a mash-up of Mali sounds and western hipness often played at break-neck speeds.  The main instrument is the ngoni, a stringed instrument of West African origin, here performed very skillfully and very quickly.  This is music that is best understood in context, but even in my mid-west, middle-class life, I find in it a world that beckons me to discover while reaching out a warm welcome. 

Please check out their Myspace page for your listening pleasure:

From Wiki: Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 1800s, Mali fell under French control, becoming part of French Sudan. Mali gained independence in 1959 with Senegal, as the Mali Federation. A year later, the Mali Federation became the independent nation of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. About half the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

From the band: Since 2005, Bassekou has led Ngoni Ba, the first-ever group built around not one but four ngonis—all played by members of his family. The group’s second CD I Speak Fula comes out on Sub Pop in February of 2010 (preceded by a digital release via iTunes in December ‘09) on the occasion of Bassekou’s first U.S. tour as a headliner. Bela Fleck will join the group on stage for a number of shows, guaranteeing a storm of string-picking ecstasy.

Bassekou’s longtime friend and booster Lucy Duran (a BBC radio host, record producer, and Mande music scholar) produced the band’s debut, Segu Blue. Before long, Bassekou and Ngoni Ba were touring Europe and in high demand. I Speak Fula builds on the success of Segu Blue. Its 11 tracks provide a star-studded tour of pan-Malian music, including collaborations with Toumani Diabaté, griot vocal legend Kasse Mady Diabaté, master of the horse-hair soku fiddle Zoumana Tereta, and guitar phenomenon Vieux Farka Toure, Ali’s precociously talented son.  The release of I Speak Fula and Ngoni Ba’s first U.S. tour mark the latest leg of an extraordinary musical journey.

“I Speak Fula” Album Notes

01 I speak fula 03:37
02 Jamana be diya ft. Kasse Mady Diabate, Toumani Diabate 04:56  
03 Musow – for our women 05:23
04 Torin torin ft. Harouna Samake 04:45  
05 Bambugu blues ft. Andra Kouyate, Vieux Farka Toure  05:03  
06 Amy ft. Zoumana Tereta 04:29
07 Saro ft. Vieux Farka Toure 03:46
08 Ladon 05:27  
09 Tineni ft. Toumani Diabate 04:52
10 Falani 05:42
11 Moustapha 05:06

~ by castleqwayr on December 2, 2009.

One Response to “Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Speak Fula?”

  1. Great album! I had it on replay for hours today..

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