Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Habib Koite Wednesday Night For Oxfam

Next Wednesday night, I'm working for Oxfam at the Habib Koite show at S.O.B.'s (on Varick @ West Houston). Koite is a singer-songwriter-bandleader from Mali, who is also a spokesman for Oxfam's campaign against U.S. policies that dump commodities on poor countries. His country is particularly affected by the dumping of cheaper American cotton, making it difficult for local farmers to survive, let alone compete in their own country.

From Hoite's bio:
Habib is known for his unique approach to playing the guitar. He tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale and plays on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. At other times Habib plays music that sounds closer to the blues or flamenco, two styles he studied under Khalilou Traoré a veteran of the legendary Afro-Cuban band Maravillas du Mali. Unlike the griots, his singing style is restrained and intimate with varying cadenced rhythms and melodies. His supporting cast, Bamada, is an explosive super-group of West African rhythm section talent.

With one foot in the past and the other in the future, Habib Koité is an artist for a generation that has witnessed the breaking down of cultural barriers. While he respects and treasures the music of his ancestors, Habib also envisions a day when village chiefs will communicate with the world from grass-thatched huts via a computer. Habib's music proves that we do not have to forsake the past in order to develop, and that the modern world, for all of its benefits, needs to keep its links to the folklore, mythology and history of the people in order for it to retain its soul.

Short music clips here.

S.O.B.'s is always fun, and this sounds like it's gonna be a great show with a chance to inform a bunch of people.

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