Chicago World Music Festival Presents:
Mamadou Kelly, Leila Gobi, Sidi Toure
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
Doors 5:00 PM / Show 6:00 PM
From Niafunke, the heart of the Malian delta blues, guitar genius and subtle vocal stylist, Mamadou Kelly has been an integral part of two of the most famous groups in Malian music, Afel Bocoum's Alkibar and also Ali Farka Toure's backup band. He has played guitar and performed with these two greats on many of their tours and albums. He is the solid glue that holds the music together. Nothing short of a virtuoso on the acoustic guitar, Mamadou has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of Mali. He represents a new sophistication in the sound of Niafunke.
Forced to flee Niafunke for Bamako after the occupation of northern Mali in 2012 and the imposition of sharia that banned music in his home town, Mamadou continues to develop his career. Having toured extensively as a side-man, he is now ready to step into the center spotlight and present his own music to the world. Supported by his brother, Hama, a respected genius on the calabash who is also heard on many recordings from Mali, and their longtime collaborator, monochord master Youro, their music represents the best and most captivating combination of traditional and contemporary West Africa imaginable. His vocals display a smooth sophistication demonstrating the high level of his art.
The tiny Leila Gobi has a huge voice and strong message. From Menaka, she plays guitar perched on high heel shoes while she scolds, cajoles, and seduces audiences with her sincerity.
Sidi Touré both captures and challenges his roots. While the music and rhythms remain authentically Songhai, his lyrics reveal an observant and critical mind. His songs draw attention to issues not usually addressed by singers from such ancient traditions. Sidi’s music is modern, bending tradition not unlike Tinariwen (they share common rhythms like takamba: the songhai and the tamasheq are neighbors) and his guitar playing and scales cross into western folk and blues not unlike Ali Farke Touré (who is also songhai). Sidi is a captivating performer whose skills and songs shine in any context.