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Music, Hear This Bassekou Kouyate: Show Preview

Bassekou Kouyate: Show Preview

The West African spike lute or "ngoni" has a history dating back to the 14th century, but Malian griot Bassekou Kouyaté has built a reputation for pushing the ancient instrument into fresh new territory. A virtuoso player who has been…
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Music, Hear This Omara "Bombino" Moctar: Show Preview

Omara "Bombino" Moctar: Show Preview

Following in the footsteps of pioneering Saharan band Tinariwen and the late Malian six-string virtuoso Ali Farka Touré, Nigerian guitarist Omara "Bombino" Moctar has risen in a few short years from living in exile to being one of the leading…
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Music, BeatBox Seun Kuti: Show Preview

Seun Kuti: Show Preview

While the musical about his deceased firebrand father, Fela Kuti, is earning Broadway gold, Oluseun "Seun" Kuti is appealing to a new generation of Afrobeat fans. Fela's youngest son has embraced his dad's creative legacy with politically charged albums like…
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Music, The Sway Machinery Captures Malian Adventures on Its New Album

The Sway Machinery Captures Malian Adventures on Its New Album

Barreling down the dusty roads of the West African country of Mali in January 2010, Jeremiah Lockwood and his Brooklyn-based band the Sway Machinery felt elated. They had just left an impromptu gig jamming with local musicians at a bumping…
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Calendar, Night&Day They Wear It Well

They Wear It Well

We really wonder what would happen if a museum in another country took a look at the way we dress. "Residents of this area rely nearly exclusively on denim trousers, with tiny variations in color and style allowing the wearer…
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Calendar, Night&Day String Theory

String Theory

Mali's Bassekou Kouyate isn't content to play background music, so he attached a guitar strap to his ngoni, or "spike lute" — the banjo's distant cousin — and proudly solos center stage with his talented ensemble, Ngoni Ba. The bandleader…
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Calendar, Night&Day The Wanderers

The Wanderers

There couldn't possibly be a better band than Tinariwen playing at Coachella. The upcoming music festival's 100-degree heat? No problem for a group of nomads who grew up in the Sahara surviving brutal conditions, crushing droughts, and widespread starvation. How…
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Calendar, Night&Day Bamako's Beauts

Bamako's Beauts

The capital city of Mali is not much like our burg. Besides the obvious (it's in Africa), it's on a river, it's inland, and it's got a famous library. Like San Francisco, though, downtown Bamako is expensive, congested, and sounds…
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Music, Reviewed Mali Music

Mali Music

Without ever hearing the record, it would be easy to scorn Damon Albarn's Mali Music project. The Blur frontman traveled to West Africa toting a "battered" melodica, jammed with some of Mali's premier musicians, and then returned to his London…
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Music, Reviewed Various Artists

Various Artists

Like virtually all products of American culture, hip hop has traveled on globalism's winds to take root in the unlikeliest of places, from Serbia to Sao Paolo. Africa Raps: Senegal, Mali, and the Gambia, a compilation on the German label…
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Music, A Foggy Notion

A Foggy Notion

Dan Prothero lives in the Lower Haight, produces dance music for his own label, and DJs around town occasionally. But you won't find any sequencers, drum machines, or synthesizers littering his home studio or the houses of the musicians he…
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Calendar, Night&Day There's a Griot  Goin' On

There's a Griot Goin' On

Africa's musical heart is buried somewhere in Mali, a nation of diverse cultures and home to world music heavyweights like Ali Farka Touré, Salif Keita, and Oumou Sangare. American music owes its own debts to the West African nation as…
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Calendar, Night&Day Good Golly, It's Mali

Good Golly, It's Mali

Mali, the largest country in West Africa, reached its pinnacle of power in the 14th century, when it dominated the trans-Saharan gold trade and its fabled city of Timbuktu became a hub of wealth and culture. Today, 40 years after…
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Hear This

Oumou Sangare Female vocalists have dominated Mali's vibrant music scene ever since the West African country gained independence from France in the late 1950s. However, a strict caste system has traditionally limited performance opportunities in most areas to the jalis…
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