Malian guitarist Habib Koité is one of Africa’s most popular and recognized musicians. Born in Thiès, a Senegalese town situated on the railway line connecting Dakar to Niger, Habib comes from a noble line of Khassonké griots, traditional troubadors who provide wit, wisdom and musical entertainment at social gatherings and special events.
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Habib takes some unique approaches to playing the guitar. He tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale and plays on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni. Unlike the griots, his singing style is restrained and intimate with varying cadenced rhythms and melodies and he tunes his guitar in a pentatonic scale and plays on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni.
“I’m curious about all the music in the world, but I make music from Mali... Usually, Malian musicians play only their own ethnic music, but me, I go everywhere. My job is to take all these traditions and to make something with them, to use them in my music.”