Andra Kouyaté & Sèkè Chi

Album Reviews:

“While this is definitely filed under "Traditional," you will be surprised by the sudden lurch into one-drop reggae on the title track, "Saro." I have to say it's by far the best African re-interpretation of reggae I've heard. A wonderful balafon skitters in on this one. Glorious stuff.”

“It can’t be easy being the ngoni-playing younger brother of the world’s most famous ngoni player, Bassekou Kouyaté. But Andra Kouyaté and his group Sèkè Chi have delivered a debut CD that is confident, distinctive and in no way an imitation of big brother Bassekou’s juggernaut band Ngoni Ba. Well, it is similar in one way—the placement of the ancient fretless Malian lute at the center of spectacular musical action.” Banning Eyre from

Mali ngoni whiz goes deep and diverse on impeccably recorded, exquisitely harmonized neo-trad solo LP. 8 out of 10 starts. SPIN magazine

Andra is pushing tradional Bamana, Puel and Maninka influences into unexplored sonic grounds. It’s far from traditional griot music but retains its nomadic essence.

“Saro” deftly weaves together West African folk, desert blues and touches of reggae. The often joyful musical journey’s illuminated by Kouyaté’s brilliant fretwork.” Pasadena Weekly Review

Kouyate's music may be the best synthesis of desert and city, traditional and modern that Mali has yet produced. Saro is certainly going to be on my playlists for many weeks to come, as well as a candidate for one of the best albums of 2012.

(Andra Kouyate) expands the traditional sounds of Malian music, mixing desert blues with influences from West Africa and beyond. Andra and his young band, Sèkè Chi, have put together a remarkable record entitled Saro.