Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba
Friday, October 14, 2011 | 8:00 pm
Fierce technique and untrammeled vision have made the Malian fingerpicker Bassekou Kouyaté’s name inseparable from the ngoni, an ancient West African lute that produces a fleet and percussive music similar to the banjo. Kouyaté’s band combines four modified versions of the instrument — with extra strings for added kick — to create a sound both sweet and explosive, infusing African rhythms with the bite of American blues. A BBC3 “Best African Act” award in 2008 elevated Kouyaté’s prestige in the West to rival Malian titan Ali Farka Touré. With spirited vocals courtesy of Amy Sacko, Kouyaté’s wife and “the Tina Turner of Mali” (MOJO), this band is simply a joy.