6. Mali Ba
9. Nta Dima
Africa's Musical Ambassador releases first studio album in six years.
After a six-year absence from the recording studio, Malian guitarist Habib Koite and his band Bamada return with a stunning new album, 'Afriki'. With more than 250,000 albums sold around the globe, an appearance on the popular television show Late Night with David Letterman, a duet with Bonnie Raitt on her 2002 album Silver Lining and nearly a thousand concerts on some of the world's most prestigious stages under his belt, Habib Koite is one of Africa's most beloved and popular musicians. Afriki features an appealing set of songs that reflect Habib's unique and innovative approach to the diverse styles of Malian music.
Few African artists have received the sales and media exposure of Habib Koite. Called "Mali's biggest pop star" by Rolling Stone (in an infamous article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Habib has also received raves from widely-read publications such as People, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. Just this June, Habib graced a 2-page photo spread in the pages of Vanity Fair magazine. While sales of African music CDs generally struggle to break the 10,000-unit mark, Habib has defied expectations by selling more than 100,000 copies of his last two studio albums, putting him in the upper echelons of world music artist sales.
'Afriki' emphasizes a tight acoustic sound, showcasing some little-heard traditional instruments such as polyphonic hunter's horns, alongside balafón (wooden xylophone), n'goni (a Malian lute) and Habib's iconic voice and guitar. "I want to open a small window to the new generation," explains Habib regarding his use of Malian folk instruments, "to help them hear our old traditions even if it is in new music."