“I want my music to be vibrant and energetic, and full of hope and love,” says Aly Keita. “His playing is delightfully expressive and has plenty of range, from the bright and chirpy to the deeply meditative (Songlines).Born in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, Keita is probably the world’s leading virtuoso on the Balafon, a West African gourd-resonated xylophone which dates back to the 13th century and the Mali empire. However, rather than continuing in his family’s Griot tradition, Keita is also a hugely effective ambassador for the instrument, and has moved it in the direction of Afro-pop and funk-fuelled rhythm sections, and worked with artists as diverse as Joe Zawinul, Pharoah Sanders, Trilok Gurtu and Rhoda Scott. Based in Berlin, he brings his lively trio with two fellow adoptive Berliners: Dutch-born drum master Marcel van Cleef, and the exciting Udine-born, Berklee-trained, New York-formed funk bass hero Roberto Badoglio.
Aly Keita (bal), Marcel van Cleef (d), Roberto Badoglio (b)