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