Digital Concert: Balla Kouyaté, Mike Block, and Friends

Boston to Bamako: West African and American collaborations
Virtual Concert

This digital concert will premiere on December 1 at 4 pm and will be available until February 28, 2023.

Malian American artist Balla Kouyaté is part of a long unbroken family line of musicians, praise-singers, and oral historians who celebrate and keep vital the culture of the Malinké people of West Africa. Playing a balafon – the West African antecedent of the xylophone – Kouyaté makes his Celebrity Series debut and shares the stage with boundary-defying cellist Mike Block and other equally daring musical friends.  

The six-piece band comes together to create a program of joyous, effervescent music that blends West African beats (courtesy of percussionists Dembele and Kone) and vocals with bluegrass, funk, and rock. Block and Kouyaté lead the band in a program that celebrates international sounds and cross-cultural collaboration.  

This performance is part of our Neighborhood Arts Global Percussion Series.  

Balla Kouyaté balafon 

Mike Block cello 

Sekou Dembele  djembe/vocals 

Idrissa Kone talking drum/calabash/percussion/vocals 

Luke Okerlund electric guitar 

Mike Rivard bass/sintir