One of Mali’s most renowned musicians and great guitarists, Habib Koite, makes a return visit to the Twin Cities on March 9, albeit to a venue less familiar with many Mshale readers. Koite will perform at the Vieux Carré in downtown St. Paul. Vieux Carré is owned by the same folks that own the more familiar Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis (downstairs from where last year’s African Awards Gala was held at Target headquarters), which has hosted the likes of the late Hugh Masekela and other high profile African musicians.
Koite will be joined on stage by fellow Malian Bassekou Kouyate in what promises to an exciting evening. They will perform at 8:00PM and 10:00PM.
In addition to being an accomplished guitarist, Koite is known best for the revival of the ngoni, the precursor to the banjo. That he is performing on a weekend should be welcome news for some and can expect the usual socially-conscious lyrics that Koite has become known for. Kouyate on his part is referred to as the King of Ngoni and bs band is called appropriately as Ngoni ba.
Koite is among the most commercially successful African musicians and on stage usually sings Bambara,English and french. He has his uncle to thank for his music career. As he describes it, he was headed to a career as an engineer when his uncle who had noted his talent encouraged him to enroll at Bamako’s National Institute of Arts and within six months was made conductor of INA Star, the school’s prestigious band. He eventually graduated top of his class in 1982.
Habib Koite & Bassekou Kouyate in Concert @ Vieux Carré
Saturday, March 9, 2019 8PM and 10PM
408 St Peter St., St Paul, MN 55102