Sunday, September 30, 2007

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.

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