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2007 - week 34, from 25 August - Bassekou Kouyate

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:23 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Bassekou Kouyate Live session - Country

1 - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Bala - Live in the studio - Mali

2 - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Bassekou - Live in the studio - Mali

3 - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Jonkoloni - Live in the studio - Mali


At the time of this session, I had not yet heard Bassekou and his band playing live, and had only his impressive debut album Segu Blue to go by. In the week afterwards, I learned how versatile they could be, first witnessing Bassekou and his vocalist wife, Ami Sacko, playing together at a private party and then watching the whole band in full swing on the Siam Stage at WOMAD, where they stole the weekend.

The first surprise was the confidence and quality of Ami Sacko. On the album, Segu Blue (*), she is very good; live, she is great, liable to let rip and sing with that classic sound that only Malian women can deliver, but also able to turn down the volume, lower her register, and sound gentle and intimate. Which is the voice she brought to this session in our radio studio.

Bassekou himself is truly a master musician, charismatic and effortless, playful in his interchanges with the rest of his group, in which his brother Andra is the rhythmic fulcrum, playing the big seven stringed bass ngoni.

Special thanks to:

1. engineer Richard Froggatt, whose ingenuity was put to the test by having so many musicians in a small space, each requiring individual amplification for their instruments, but with only three microphone channels to work with.

2. interpreter Lilly Ladjevardi


3. producer Oliver Jones, who stitched it all together so seamlessly

CG, Ami Sacko & Bassekpou Kouyate, at WOMAD Charlton Park, July 28, 2007
[photo by Lucy Duran]

* Bassekou Kouyate & Segu Blue (Out Here Records)
Record of the month, February 2007 - see home page

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:02 am
by Chris P
Merci Beaucoup Charlie, this is one of the most memorable live music sessions I've heard on radio. Bassekou and Ami are musical gods - Divine.
I wonder if it would be hoping for too much, that this session might get some release (eg as a bonus Cd bundle) - the playing was actually more alive and nuanced than the still wonderful Segu Blue. I remember reading that Lucy Duran had discouraged Bassekou from recording some of the more elaborate arrangements he'd worked up, and wonder if he's returned to them ? The gigs at Womad were magical.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:23 am
by Quintin
Absolutely right Chris; this was stunning. The studio album is excellent (though as some wise soul said a tad Radio 3) but live, the it all really ..........comes alive. Never thought I'd be dancing round my kitchen at 9.30 in the morning. Incidentally R3 are promising to put their live Radio 3 stage WOMAD performance up on 'listen again'-I imagine only the bit that was broadcast rather than the full hour and a half plus we got to hear.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:57 pm
by Con Murphy
QUINTIN wrote:Incidentally R3 are promising to put their live Radio 3 stage WOMAD performance up on 'listen again'

Available here, along with just about everbody else who performed:- ... gain.shtml

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:24 pm
by Des
Yep one of the highlights of Womad especially as I didn't rate the album and wasn't expecting the live show to be that special. Well done.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:06 am
by Charlie
I don't usually post the emails that simply say 'well done' but there were so many this week, they add up to a glowing testimonial for the performers...


1. Erick jonh mollel, arusha, Tanzania

i like so much yr program..wooow


2. Mario Muzazaila, Beira, Mozambique

Your programme is excellent.
All thumbs up!



3. John Richards, Richards, Cardiff, UK

Bloody 'ell Charlie! The best live BBC show I've ever heard. To have been in your little studio must've been amazing-many thanks to Bassekou and the lads, yourself and everyone else involved. The sheer lyricism and virtuosity moved me almost to tears-of joy


4. Juha Hyrsky, Turku, Finland

Absolutely breathtaking stuff!!


5. Polly March, Naxxar, Malta

I was fortunate enough to catch the programme this afternoon. The music was magical! I would love to get their CD, but don't know details. Can you help please? And thanks again for introducing me to this wonderful sound.


6. Richard Goldie, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Fantastic, a real treat, so special! I've been wanting to hear some raw acoustic Malian music for a while and this was the real deal. Have they made a CD?


7. wen-shush lin, kaohsiung, taiwan

I enjoy it very mush


8. Paul Luyimbazi, Kampala, uganda

hello Charlie, I am in Uganda, how can i buy the kind of music you bring on your show?


9. Adele Corazza, London, UK

Where can i buy and listen to more of this wonderful music!

rocking in my bed with hairnet on at 4 in the morning!


10. Colin Love, Bottesford, UK

I found this a wonderful programme - you make mention of an album - Segu Blues? Can you advise me how I can obtain a copy?

Many thanks

Colin Love


11. Alan Eidt, Niagara Falls, Canada

Great show as usual Charlie. Gotta love the music coming out of Mali!
Charlie how is your health? Better I hope, I miss your longer show. Hope you are on the mend.


12. Bryan Dutton, Parbold, Nr Wigan, England

I heard the bradcast of Bassekou Kouyate - you said he has made an album - Where can I buy it please?


13. Rod McShane, Folkestone, England


You surpassed yourself with the live Malian session.




14. Gerry Hectic

That was brilliant. Charlie, get on that floor and touch the walls.


15. John Honeyman, Markinch, Scotland

If I wake up in the night I sometimes don the headphones attached to my DAB bedside radio and listen to the World Service. (mustn't wake up Alison!!) I caught your programme last week with Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba. The hypnotic rhythms and precision of the playing had me absolutely entranced. I'm so glad I heard the programme details before drifting back off to sleep as I've been listening to it all week on "Listen again"!

It is so fascinating to hear these bluesy rhythms and understand how they must have influenced the development of music in other parts of the world.

It is interesting to compare Bassekou's sounds with similarly rhythmic sounds at a Celtic music concert in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, that I was at a couple of weeks ago.

There's a lot of hidden gems around and it is such a pleasure to discover them.

All the best,