Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Burkina Electric, Fool’s Gold, and DJ Frank of Voodoo Funk

Sunday July 25, 2010 3:00 PM

Central Park, New York, NY

An inside look into the past, present and future of West African music.

As a master of the West African lute known as the ngoni, Bassekou Kouyate first gained popularity in his home country of Mali working extensively with such esteemed artists as the late Ali Farka Touré, Taj Mahal, and Toumani Diabate. Since 2005, Kouyate has led Ngoni Ba, the first-ever band built around four ngonis, all played by members of his family. The show is a high energy blend of traditional artistry, blues, and rock roll.

Burkina Electric is the first electronica band to hail from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. This diverse group combines Burkinabé grooves, sounds of traditional instruments, and other African traditions with popular dance music to create a unique and refreshing musical world.

The buzzed-about L.A.-based collective Fool’s Gold weaves Western art-pop aesthetics with African rhythms and melodies. The group’s sound explores their love of various African forms of music, as well as ’80s dance-influenced pop music, with vocals in Hebrew and English. The end result is an infectious, effervescent blend as sunny as the California basin from which they hail.

DJ Frank/VooDoo Funk has lived and travelled in West Africa since 2005, while playing music and building up a unique collection of rare West African funk records and unknown grooves to now share with the rest of the world.