4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Phoenix, Arizona 85050
Bassekou Kouyate is one of the true masters of the ngoni, an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa. In the mid-1980s, Bassekou started playing the traditional sumu (a colorful Malian wedding celebration) circuit, which soon put him in touch with another extraordinary musician: the kora player Toumani Diabaté. At the end of the 1980s, Kouyate became a founding member of Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, which introduced him to audiences in Europe and the United States. He has collaborated with many musicians in and outside of Mali, including Paul McCartney, Taj Mahal, Béla Fleck, and the Kronos Quartet.
In 2005, Kouyate was invited by the late Malian desert bluesman Ali Farka Touré to play on his album Savane and to join Touré on stage for his final tour in the summer. That same year, Kouyate formed Ngoni Ba, which plays an energetic blend of African blues and Malian groove. Ngoni Ba features multiple ngoni of different ranges and tonal voices, two percussionists, and the powerhouse vocals of Aminata Sacko, Kouyate’s wife.