Sunday, September 30, 2007

Habib Koité, Afriki Tour 2007

After a few years Habib Koité returned to the RASA venue in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where he had performed in 1998, 2001 and 2003.

After Aly Keita's first part (see previous blog entry), Habib came on stage, followed by Bamada musicians and started to play, rather timidly I must say. It was as if they were afraid to make a mistake. In between the songs, though, Habib added short notes about the songs and he was, even though he spoke in English only, rather ''at ease'', so to speak. He was in Holland, and in some way it showed (sic!). Anyway, the show improved and in the two or three songs he brought on stage during the ''encore'', they were unleashed and they played in the way I had seen them at previous occasions. It is a joy to see them, the music can be intimate at times, danceable at other times, there are no bad songs, and Habib is a very nice bloke and funny at times.

I can only recommend to see him at one the planned concerts this autumn. The agenda:

09-26-2007 Antwerpen, Belgium De Roma
09-27-2007 Arlon, Belgium Maison de la Culture
09-28-2007 Brussels, Belgium Flagey
09-29-2007 Utrecht, The Netherlands Rasa
09-30-2007 Amsterdam, Netherlands Melkweg
10-05-2007 Bern Muehle Hunziken
10-06-2007 Dornbirn (A), Spielboden
10-07-2007 Paris, France l'Européen
10-08-2007 Paris, France l'Européen
10-10-2007 Zurich, Moods
10-11-2007 Lucern (CH) Boa-Halle
10-12-2007 Basel (CH), Volkhaus
10-13-2007 Innsbruck, Austria Treibhaus
10-14-2007 Wein, Austria Wuk
10-19-2007 San Giovanni Valdarno (Firenze), Cinema Teatro Bucci
10-20-2007 Milano, Italy, Teatro del Verde
10-31-2007 Gotheborg, Sweden, TBA
11-01-2007 Malmö, Sweden, TBA
11-02-2007 Stockholm, Sweden, Festival Selam
11-05-2007 Groningen, Netherlands, De Oosterpoort
11-09-2007 Deventer, Netherlands, Burgerweeshuis
11-13-2007 Thionville, France, Théatre
11-14-2007 Veldhoven, Netherlands, De Schalm
11-15-2007 Liege, Belgium, Cinéma Le Parc
11-16-2007 Nismes, Belgium, Centre culturel Action Sud

(Please check on or for confirmed dates)

Aly Keita, a young balafola

After some difficulties entering Habib Koité's sold out concert last night in RASA (Utrecht), I was happy to be inside. At 9:15PM, a balafon player entered the stage and started to play a stunning piece. I didn't know the guy and I wondered whether Habib changed of balafon player. He played a second song, and then another one. Starting with a simple two notes, he builds up a song until a moment when you are wondering whether there is not a second balafon playing behind the curtain. This man is fabulous, what a speed and what a power! And his balafon sounded terrific as the gourds attached to the wooden keys were well resonating. This is balafon music as it should be. So it turned out to be a 30-minute mini-concert as a first part of Habib's concert. At the end of the concert, I found out that Contre-Jour, Habib's promotors, released Aly Keita's CD «Akwaba Iniséné» (Contre-Jour CJ016) only last week.

On the album he is backed up by a band, so the whole feel of the album is much different from the solo performance, although the balafon remains important. But the first notes of the first track show a bit how the performances sounded like. Guests on the album are Dobet Gnahoré, Kélétigui Diabaté and many others from the Contre-Jour stable (members from Gangbé Brass Band from Benin). A recommended album though, I spinned it twice this morning and I am still discovering.

Aly is a young guy from Cote d'Ivoire, based in Berlin, Germany.

More info on Aly on his MySpace page.