Saturday, September 20, 2008

Habib Koité

Malian guitarist Habib Koité is one of Africa’s most popular and recognized musicians. Habib Koité was born in 1958 in Mali. His supporting cast, Bamada, is a super-group of West African talent, including Kélétigui Diabaté playing balafon.

Habib spent some time wandering around Africa trying on different musical sounds, but in the end he fell in love with the traditions of Mali and its own variety of music. He returned, embraced his homeland and started singing its virtues to the rest of the Malians so they would appreciate its beauty.

Koité is known primarily for his unique approach to playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. Other pieces of his music sound more like the blues or flamenco which are two styles he learned under Khalilou Traore.