Salif Keita Why Did It Take you So Long To Come Back To Chicago

Salif Keita at Old Town School of Folk Music

SALIF Keita 

Friday April 14 2017 By Maja Rios

Famous Malian singer, Salif Keita, performed at intimate Old Town School auditorium with his six piece band.  A singer of rare gifts, not unlike an opera singer in power, tone, and control, maintained vocal prowess for a two hour set.

Accompanied by an electronic African band of drums, computer tracks, guitar, amplified kora, congas, and one background singer, the gifted singer sung about 8 extended songs, in his native languages of Bamara and Mandinke, with no translations and no mention of song content.

However, the sheer power and beauty of his voice, transcended all barriers.

The band was a world fusion of Western hip-hop, rock, blues mixed with traditional West African instrumentation of Kora, Djembe, Guitar;West African modes, with traditional Malian vocals on top.

No acoustic music was performed by Salif, although I was hoping for a song or two without electronics.

But with, electronic beats and drums, comes dancing grooves. The capacity crowd danced in the aisles and some came up on stage to dance as band was playing. The place was rocking!

Traditional and original Malian songs were performed for the entire set, with occasional solo djembe drumming, as audience dancers came up on stage and stuffed dollar bills in shirts of the performers!

Big in spectacle and volume, Salif , thrilled the international crowd, many dressed in colorful African garb. My only disappointment was that, he gave no announcement of who his individual musicians were, in name and in country of origin. However a good time was had by all!,

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