Habib Koite & Bamada
Somewhere between the bluesy roots music of Ali Farka Toure and the modern electro-griot sounds of Salif Keita lies the exquisite neo-traditional music of Habib Koite & Bamada. Hailing from Mali, where music flows from a deep and ancient well, Habib Koite plays mostly acoustic music based on traditional styles. While he utilizes West African drums, the kora (a 21-stringed African harp) and percussion (along with acoustic and electric guitars), Koite's original music also shows a familiarity with Funk and Flamenco. Koite was born into a family of traditional musicians, or griots. He learned to play the four-stringed ngoni as a child and studied at the National Arts Institute in Mali, where he became director of the school orchestra and later a guitar teacher. Koite is known as a solid, understated singer and a virtuoso guitarist; he uses pentatonic tuning and incorporates techniques used on traditional Malian stringed instruments. Drawing from a range of indigenous rhythms, he mostly plays up-tempo songs such as his '92 pan-African hit "Cigarette A Bana" (No More Cigarette).