Bassékou Kouyaté is a musician from Garana, a small and multi-ethnic village 60 km from Segou located at the banks of the Niger river.
In the eighties Bassekou started playing the traditional sumu circuit and was a founding member of Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra. In 2005 Bassekou decided to create his band Ngoni ba, a quartet of different sized ngonis. It was a novel idea, but it was also very old – the rulers of precolonial Segu sometimes had bands of up to 30 or 40 ngoni players, all playing together. Since than Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba have toured the world playing 100rds of shows from NY Central Park to the Royal Albert Hall in London, from Roskilde to Glastonbury.
Lately he performed with Africa Express and charged stages with musicians like Sir Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Damon Albarn and many more. In 2014 and in 2020 he was voted “Best Artist” of the year at the Songlines Music Award.
Kouyaté received a Cultures of Resistance Award (CoR Award) in 2022 and is using the award money to help with the construction of a music school in Garana.
Visit his website here or follow him on Instagram here to learn more about his work.