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Habib Koité & Bamada

Few African artists have received the sales and media exposure of Habib Koité. 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. 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. As with many craftsmen, Habib is a perfectionist, and spends a great deal of time composing and arranging his material. Habib draws on styles from the different regions of Mali, rather than solely on the music of his particular area as most Malian musicians do. Habib has gained a strong fan base by integrating the rock and folk sounds of the Western world, without watering down his cherished Malian roots.

Latest News

November 30, 2012 — 

Kélétigui Diabaté, one of the greatest figures in Malian contemporary music, passed away in Bamako on the morning of November 30, 2012. He was 81 years old, but his death was sudden and he had been performing as recently as last month.

 

From 1998 to 2009, Diabaté was a member of Malian guitarist Habib Koité’s band Bamada, and his virtuoso skills on balafón, a type of African xylophone, violin and other instruments never failed to amaze the audience and his soft-spoken charm and endearing grace earned him friends and fans around the globe.

 

Kélétigui Diabaté leaves behind a legacy of exceptional music. Diabaté played an important yet under-recognized role in the history of Malian and West African music and we will miss him dearly.

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