Rhythmic return

Habib Koité & Bamada Laxson Auditorium, Thurs., March 3

The last time I reviewed Habib Koité and Bamada, I failed to note explicitly that this was a band that should not be missed if it ever came back to town. Having just enjoyed the band for a second time, the above sentiment is doubled.

Koité's music is intensely rhythmic, built on a style of guitar playing based not on sustained notes and power chords but on intricately interwoven, picked melodies that ride the polyrhythmic currents generated by Abdoul Wahab Berthé's serpentine bass lines and the burbling patterns of percussion instruments, especially the virtuoso playing of Mahamadou Koné, whose mastery of the tiny talking drum that is his main instrument earned waves of applause more than once.

Indeed, each member of Bamada was given ample opportunity to inspire the audience to joyously clap, whistle, dance and most important come see them again next time Chico Performances brings them to town.

Led by charismatic Malian guitarist/singer Koité, Bamada is comprised of Kélétigui Diabaté (violin, balafon), Abdoul Wahab Berth (electric bass), Boubacar Sidib (guitar, harmonica) Souleyamane Ann (drums) and Mahamadou Kon (percussion), and each is a master musician. They look great, too, dressed in beautifully patterned geometric prints in rich tones of ochre, brown and black.