Today’s premier international exponent of the ngoni, a traditional West African lute, Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate is known primarily as an innovator, splicing his native griot traditions with rock, blues, funk and pop. His forthcoming release Miri, in contrast, sees Kouyate taking a more acoustic, roots-based approach, evoking a journey back to his home village of Garana.
All of which might seem far removed from the musical world of SIAN, the stunning young Gaelic song trio of Dàimh’s Ellen MacDonald, Eilidh Cormack – 2018’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year – and Ceitlin LR Smith. While they recently featured on Niteworks’ album title track ‘Air Fàir an Là’, their primary stock-in-trade is unaccompanied songs by female Gaelic bards.
For this world-première collaboration, however – also featuring Kouyate’s quartet of fellow instrumentalists, Ngoni Ba – they find creative common ground as inheritors of centuries-old oral tradition and indigenous language, drawing on these wellsprings to making thrilling new music. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund.