“The instrumental pyrotechnics never fail to amaze. But if the music astonishes with its ever increasing tightness, the whole visual show is just joyful too . . . their synchronized footwork is like one of those great 60s soul reviews . . .” —fRoots
With his captivating, utterly distinctive sound, Kouyate and his virtuoso seven-member ensemble from Mali have been attracting increasingly glowing reviews and ecstatic audience response in West Africa and at European festivals. Simultaneously ancient and modern-sounding, the ngoni is a skin-faced, four-stringed ancestor of the banjo that has accompanied African griots (oral historians and praise singers) for thousands of years. The hypnotic music that Kouyate and his three ngoni players coax from these simple instruments is extraordinary—intricately woven lines, crisp bluesy riffs, and funky ostinato patterns, and wild rocking solos—all topped by gorgeous melodies sung by Kouyate’s wife, Ami Sacko, known as “the Tina Turner of Mali.” With this concert, the Walker and the Cedar once again introduce an important new voice in global music to the Midwest in an all-standing, clublike setting.