Andra Kouyaté

Andra Kouyaté started learning to play the « n'goni » from his father Moustapha Kouyaté at the age of seven. He is the younger brother of Bassekou Kouyaté, who is seen as the most successful n'goni player. In 1989, Andra left his native Garana for the capital Bamako with the aim to gain more experience by playing in various outfits, for instance with National Badema.

Andra participated in the recordings of the first three albums of Rokia Traoré, « Mouneïssa » (1997), « Wanita » (2000) and « Bowmboï » (2003). For eight years, he toured extensively with Rokia Traoré, and recorded occasionally with other artists, such as Fantani Touré. He has also played with Toumani Diabaté and Ali Farka Touré.

With his brother Bassekou Kouyaté, he cofounded Bassekou's band Ngoni Ba in 2005, and after their first album they toured around the globe with great success. Andra continued to record with other artists, such as with Habib Koité on his album « Afriki », but also with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Leni Stern and Oumou Sangaré. Currently, he tours with Raaga Trio, combining African roots with jazz.

As a musician, Andra looks for innovation within tradition. He adapted the n'goni into a bass n'goni, and he masters both instruments as well as the tamani talking drum. With the n'goni, he developed his own way of playing and with his own group, Sèkè Chi, he recorded a first album that shows a remarkable variety in styles, well-balanced between tradition and contemporaneity. There are featurings by Amadou & Mariam, Bassekou Kouyaté, Amy Sacko, his wife Mah Bara Soumano and many others.

A few years later, Andra has formed a new group Magic Foli and recorded an EP « Je vous aime ».

Sèkè Chi
Sèkè Chi, with Andra on the left (sitting)
• Sèkè Chi:
Andra Kouyaté n'goni, vocals
Baïny Diabaté guitar
Mamadou Kouyaté bass n'goni
Mouctar Kouyaté calabash

• Invited musicians on Saro:
Amadou & Mariam chorus (track 4)
Bassekou Kouyaté n'goni (tracks 11, 15)
Amy Sacko chorus (track 2)
Mah Bara Soumano lead vocals (tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15)
Harouna Samaké Kamale n'goni (track 2)
Lassana Diabaté balafon (tracks 3, 9)
Salimata Kouyaté vocals (track 1)
Oumar Konaté solo guitar (tracks 4, 12)
Idrissa Diabaté tamani, tamaba (all tracks)

• Magic Foli:
Andra Kouyaté n'goni, vocals
Koto Brawa drums
Seydou Millimono bass
Daoud Dembelé guitar
Nana Menthe Kouyaté backing vocal

Born: in Garana
Style: Bambara / Bamanan / n'goni / instrumental

Title Year Label Remarks
Je vous aime 2014 YouAndArt EP (digital release)
Saro 2012 Studio Mali CD / digital release

Sources [site no longer online]

Page added April 2013