Mark your calendar: Sounds of West Africa

Posted April 09, 2009, at 12:04 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:51 a.m.

The great tradition of Malian music lives on in its contemporary practitioners — Amadou and Mariam, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate, Tinariwen and Habib Koite. Maine audiences will get a chance to experience these traditions when Koite performs this Friday at the Strand Theatre in Rockland. The music of the acclaimed guitarist, one of the most popular musicians in Africa, lies somewhere in between the Afro-blues of the late Ali Farka Toure, and the electrified but traditional sounds emanating from the Malian capital of Bamako. Koite, who turned 50 last year, grew up with 17 brothers and sisters and a mother who was a griot, a traditional storyteller and singer. He became a musician, and has since played all over the world, collaborating with Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne and receiving accolades in multiple countries. Koite will play Friday night with his band Bamada, a veritable who’s who of West African musicians, whose names might not be familiar here in the U.S., but who are known as the cream of the crop in their respective homelands. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25 and are available at the Strand box office. For details, visit www.rocklandstrand.com.

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