Habib Koite

Malian guitarist Habib Koité is one of Africa’s most popular and recognized musicians. He comes from a noble line of Khassonké griots, traditional troubadors who provide wit, wisdom and musical entertainment at social gatherings and special events, but "nobody really taught me to sing or to play the guitar," he explains. "I watched my parents, and it washed off on me." Habib takes some unique approaches to playing the guitar. Sometimes he plays music that sounds close to the blues or flamenco, two styles he studied under Khalilou Traoré, a veteran of the legendary Afro-Cuban band Maravillas du Mali. Habib's latest release, "Afriki," finds him exploring new musical directions. The album's overarching theme is the strengths and challenges of the African continent. “People here in Africa are willing to risk death trying to leave for Europe or the USA, but they are not willing to take that risk staying to develop something here in Africa,” says Habib. “Life can be really good or really bad wherever you live. People need to understand that. Even though Mali is poor, we still have good quality of life: You can walk outside and smile and someone will smile back. I have thought about it a lot, and I am not sure if poor countries have a worse quality of life.”

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Cost

  • General Admission: $20, Reserved: $27