Bassekou Kouyate is the Ngoni master. (It must be true… it’s written on Mr Kouyate’s outfit!). He’s also a fun and fantastic musician and so I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out the band was playing at the Jazz Cafe in Camden… and there were still a few tickets available!
A Ngoni looks like this:
It’s an ancient forgotten instrument which Bassekou Kouyate has made his own. Keeping elements of traditional Malian music and songs, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba are giving the Ngoni a new lease of life, through an amp!
The band soon had us singing and dancing. They were quite chatty as well and even though a lot of the dialogue was in French, the audience responded. And it was all very good humoured… which is just as well because it could have ended up as a disaster.
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba on stage, having fun and playing great music: fun.
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba on stage, having fun and playing great music, with Damon Albarn joining in with a melodica: not fun. (For goodness’s sake Damon, what were you wearing? A red USA baseball cap… why? And shouldn’t you have in bed? You looked ready for it).
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba on stage, having fun and playing great music, with some random guy from the audience with a woolly hat: not fun. (Guy with the woolly hat: did you think you’d turn up at a open mic event?).
Seriously… there were a couple of embarrassing moments. A few whispers around me. Yet, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba kept the show going and if they were a little frustrated and impatient, they didn’t show it. I take my hat off to them! It was a superb show!
And as the playlist was on stage when we got there… you can have a look at it now and play the tracks at home to recreate the evening… but be warned… you’ll have to provide your own people with hats…