Saturday, February 12, 2005

Habib Koite and Bamada at the Skirball Museum, Los Angeles, Calfornia, USA: Thursday 24 February, 2004

As a gift to the loyal readers of The African Beat Digest - We've got 2 pair of tickets to give away for this show. Just post a message of support for African music in this blog.
Click on the COMMENT's link at the bottom of this article to enter your name, add any comments you might have, be sure to include your email address (you must enter your email address to win). Your response must be entered in our ticket giveaway by the end of Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 12 midnight. We will put all the names in a drawing and select our 2 winners on Wednesday 2/23/2005. Winners will be notified by email. Please do not enter if you can not make it to the show!

HABIB KOITÉ and BAMADA, Thursday, February 24, 8:00 p.m.

$30 General, $25 Skirball Members, $15 Students
Advance tickets: (866) 468-3399 or

Malian singer-songwriter-guitarist Habib Koité is one of the leading figures in contemporary world music. Critically acclaimed by Rolling Stone Magazine, The New York Times, NPR's All Things Considered, PRI's The World, and CNN's WorldBeat, Koité's performances with his band Bamada are energetic, lyrical, and transcendent, incorporating a wide breadth of Malian musical traditions into tasteful and dazzling contemporary compositions.

With one foot in the past and one in the future, Habib Koité is an artist for a generation that has witnessed the breaking down of cultural barriers. Hailing from the West African nation of Mali, Koité was born into a family of musician-historians, known as griots, who are central to the West African music culture. Educated at Mali's most prestigious music school, Koité was exposed to ancient Malian musical traditions as well as modern blues, soul, and rock and roll. His flawless blending of the ancient musical traditions of Mali with a healthy blend of western influence has launched him to the forefront of the world music phenomenon.

Critically acclaimed and praised for his talent, his technique, and his accessibility by critics for the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and the L.A. Times, Koité has also been featured on major national radio and television programs around the world, including BBC's The World, CNN Worldbeat, NPR's All Things Considered, WXPN's World Café, and the House of Blues Radio Hour.

"With fifteen years under its belt, this is a band that cooks even in its sleep."—Rootsworld

Recently Koité has joined with Oxfam to protest US policies that dump commodities on poor countries. Koité is using his 33-city Winter 2005 US concert tour to help educate Americans about the plight of struggling African farmers. With 20 years of music and four critically acclaimed albums under his belt, singer and guitarist Habib Koité is bringing his unique sound—and his high hopes for Mali—to North America.

On January 28, Koité and his rhythm section, Bamada, began a 33-city concert tour. More than just a gift for world music fans, the tour will give Koité a chance to educate Americans about the plight of struggling farmers in his home country of Mali.

"Mali is a country with a high percentage of agriculture and where cotton is mostly cultivated," Koité said. "The Malian producers remain in poverty because of their inability to sell their products. This is a situation that must be addressed if there are true intentions to make world trade equitable and develop poor countries such as Mali.

"Koité has joined with Oxfam and celebrities including Michael Stipe, Alanis Morisette, Minnie Driver, Colin Firth, Chris Martin and Youssou N'Dour to protest US and developed nation policies that dump commodities on poor countries that depend on these crops.

In some recently released photos, Koité is pictured having cotton "dumped" on him to symbolize the plight of his country's cotton farmers facing unfair competition from their American counterparts.
Habib Koite covered in cotton in support of Oxfam protesting US policies that dump commodities on poor countries. Posted by Hello

Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign is seeking the reform of policies that protect rich US farmers and discriminate against poor farmers around the world. Oxfam wants Malian cotton farmers, for one, to be able to make a living—without having to compete with huge subsidy payments to corporate farms, which encourage overproduction and dumping.

Koité knows firsthand how important growing and selling certain crops can be. Cultivating cotton is a difficult life for farmers with few other options for earning income. Many farmers in Mali spend more money growing the cotton than they can earn selling it at current prices.

"We are a poor country and our (cotton) producers do not have the fortune to benefit from lots of rain," Koité said. "When harvest time comes, because of poor rains they are forced to sell the cotton at a higher price and are unable to compete with (imported) American cotton that is sold at a cheaper rate."

"It is my hope that the organizations which guide world trade will establish measures to address prices and subsidies more equitable for all countries throughout the world," Koité said.

Those attending Koité's concerts will be given the chance to join the campaign and get informed on the issues of fair trade. Concert attendees will also have the opportunity to sign up to Oxfam's Big Noise, a global petition that has gathered more than five million signatures world wide. Postcards with Koité's "dumping" image will also be available at the concerts.

"I think that my voice is one that carries. Because I have a certain popularity at the national and international level, I must seize this opportunity to make an appeal to the entire world to try to help the farmers in underdeveloped countries sell their products," Koité said.

Read a Banning Eyre interview with Habib Koite from Afropop.


2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA (exit Skirball Center Drive off the 405)
(310) 440-4500,

Parking is free and plentiful.

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