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04 mai 2008

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

The bands of summer

Some of this year's music festivals have come under fire for being unadventurous, but don't panic - Britain still has the best outdoor shindigs in the world. We talk to 10 of the most exciting bands preparing to hit the circuit, and ask which of their tracks is most likely to set the summer crowds alight (...)

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Small Nations, Big Day Out, Womad, Cambridge Folk Festival, 7 Songs

Time was when you were unlikely to hear a plucked kora or rapped djembe outside of Womad. But this summer, emerging star Bassekou Kouyate will be one of a range of African musicians lighting up festivals around Britain.

Kouyate is celebrated in Mali for his performances on the ngoni - a traditional African lute - and features on albums by some of the country's best-known musicians. But it is his own music, lush, mesmeric and bluesy, which is gaining international acclaim and he has developed a reputation for exhilarating, heavily improvised live performances with his band Ngoni Ba. Kouyate says that festivals are the ideal setting for his sound. 'Everyone is dancing and shouting and if they move well it helps you play,' he said. So British audiences are forewarned that, to ensure a great performance, they'll need to work on their moves.

Killer festival tune 'Jonkoloni': 'It's similar to a song that my ancestors would perform between the 13th and 19th centuries, so when I play it, it's as if I'm playing with my grandparents.' (...)

Ally Carnwath, The Observer

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