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09 septembre 2007

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba enthral audiences and critics across UK & Europe

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. Whilst performing at the La Mar de Musicas Festival in Spain, Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour joined them on stage. From El Pais, one of Spain's biggest newspapers:

"During Bassekou Kouyate's performance, Youssou N'Dour made a surprise appearance on stage, paying compliments to the Malian. He put the headphones of adiscman on Bassekou to remind him of a piece they hadrecorded together for Youssou's forthcoming album, andthen off they went with an impromptu version of thesong. It was one of those moments that no one canpredict, no promoter can guarantee and no festival canprogramme beforehand. Spontaneous. Unique.Unrepeatable. ... Bassekou plays the ngoni with thevirtuosity of a Jeff Beck or Jimi Hendrix."

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 ("He gave an exhilarating display of what the ngoni can do.").This was followed by a gig in Brighton and an appearance at theLord

Mayor's Appeal Fiesta in London. Then, on24 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. You can read the five star review from The Independent here

Their debut at the WOMAD Festival started with a headlining performance on the BBC Radio 3Stage on the Friday night. You can listen to their full set here

On the Saturday they performed again, this time in the Siam Tent. Charlie Gillett notes in his Sound of the World forum: "The Siam Tent hosted a fantastic performance by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - at times they brought to mind Scotty Moore and Bill Black, backing Elvis, and at other times they were closer to Muddy Waters or Magic Sam, Chicago blues at its most introverted." Praise also came from The Guardian ("Every good Womad has to have a great African newcomer, and Bassekou Kouyate proved once again that his extraordinary n'goni playing echoes anything from blues to jazz improvisation."),The Daily Telegraph ("Malian lute master Bassekou Kouyate and his group, Ngoni Ba, were belting out their densely percussive music to a clearly enchanted audience.") ("Like an ngoni junky I slipped in to see Bassekous set in the larger, Siam tent and if anything he topped the previous nights performance with more exceptional and deeply bluesy solos while his wife Amis voice cut through the air with a power not yet seen on record.") and many more.

Check out these images on the BBC Wiltshire website (use the 'next' button to view the 6 images of the group)

In between live shows they found time for various press interviews (there is a piece in the current issue of Echoes) 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 programme which was broadcast on 24 August on the BBC World Service. You can listen again onlineuntil tomorrow, Friday, 31 August 2007 here

Charlie Gillett's annual 'Sound of the World' compilation album, released during Bassekou's time in the UK, features the group'strack 'Ngoni Fola' which was highlighted in several reviews such as The Guardian ("Then there's a reminder of the instrumental brilliance of Bassekou Kouyate, the African, newcomer of the year.") 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 Londonand on 22 November at theNorwich 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 beennominated 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. Bassekou's label, the Munich-based Out Here Records, has come 7th in the annual list of Top World Music Labels Award Winners, presented by WOMEX and the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE), whilst the album 'Segu Blue' has come 4th in their Top 15 World Music CDs of the Year.

For all UK press, radio, TV, online enquiries regarding Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba and Out Here Records please contact: Ilka Schlockermann (ilkamedia),PO Box 31876, London SE17 2ZB, UK T: +44 (0)79 3206 6624 | E: | Skype: ilkamedia |

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