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Ngoni Pioneer Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba's Forthcoming 'Ba Power' LP

Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba share an album teaser and the song "Siran Fen" from their forthcoming 'Ba Power' LP.


Ahead of the release of Malian ngoni pioneer Bassekou Kouyaté & his band Ngoni Ba's fourth LP Ba Power later this spring, Kouyaté and the group are sharing lead single "Siran Fen" along with an album video teaser. Providing a snippet of the making of Ba Power, the John Bosch-shot teaser shows Kouyaté in his hometown of Bamako as he records his new LP in his son Mamadou's studio. Throughout the clip, which plays like a mini-documentary, a narrator informs the viewer that the musician brought the wah-wah and distortion pedals to the lute-like ngoni and Kouyaté reveals that the instrument has been in his family for generations and continues to be played by his son.

Though some of Kouyaté's ngoni playing can be heard in the album teaser, the artist's technique explodes in "Siran Fen," a feast of ngoni spikes, rapid drums, and impassioned vocals from Amy Sacko, Kouyaté's wife. Ba Power, which was produced in Mali by Chris Eckman, joins Malian musicians such as Samba Touré and Adama Yalomba with Western artists like Jon Hassell and Dave Smith. Speaking about the LP, Kouyaté mentions: "'Ba' in Bambara means 'strong' or  'great' and it also means 'group.' I called the album Ba Power because I think the messages on it are very important and strong, and it is also definitely the album with the toughest sound I've ever made. I want these songs to grab as many people as possible.”

Ba Power will be released in CD/LP/Digital formats on April 27 via Glitterbeat Records. Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba will have an album launch show for Ba Power on May 31 at London's Scala. The band will also perform at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on May 3 and the Wychwood Festival on May 30. Watch the album teaser for Ba Power and listen to "Siran Fen" below.

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Photo courtesy of AYLØ.

Interview: AYLØ Bridges His Music & Universe In the 'Clairsentience' EP

The Nigerian artist talks about trusting your gut feelings, remedying imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do.

AYLØ's evolution as an artist has led him to view sensitivity as a gift. As the alté soundscape in the Nigerian scene gains significant traction, his laser focus cuts through the tempting smokescreen of commercial success. AYLØ doesn't make music out of need or habit. It all boils down to the power of feeling. "I know how I can inspire people when I make music, and how music inspires me. Now it's more about the message."

Clairsentience, the title of the Nigerian artist's latest EP, is simply defined as the ability to perceive things clearly. A clairsentient person perceives the world through their emotions. Contrary to popular belief, clairsentience isn't a paranormal sixth sense reserved for the chosen few, our inner child reveals that it's an innate faculty that lives within us before the world told us who to be.

Born in 1994 in Benin City, Nigeria, AYLØ knew he wanted to be a musician since he was six-years-old. Raised against the colorful backdrop of his dad's jazz records and the echoes of church choirs from his mother's vast gospel collections, making music isn't something anyone pushed him towards, it organically came to be. By revisiting his past to reconcile his promising future, he shares that, "Music is about your experiences. You have to live to write shit. Everything adds up to the music."

Our conversation emphasized the importance of trusting your gut feelings, how to remedy imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do,

This interview has been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

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