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With more than 250,000 albums sold around the globe, an appearance on the popular television show Late Night with David Letterman, a duet with Bonnie Raitt on her 2002 album Silver Lining and nearly a thousand concerts on some of the world’s most prestigious stages under his belt, Habib Koité is one of Africa’s most beloved and popular musicians. Afriki, which will be released by Cumbancha on September 25th, 2007, features an appealing set of songs that reflect Habib’s unique and innovative approach to the diverse styles of Malian music.
Few African artists have received the sales and media exposure of Habib Koité. Called “Mali’s biggest pop star” by Rolling Stone (in an infamous article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Habib has also received raves from widely-read publications such as People, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times. Just this June, Habib graced a 2-page photo spread in the pages of Vanity Fair magazine. While sales of African music CDs generally struggle to break the 10,000-unit mark, Habib has defied expectations by selling more than 100,000 copies of his last two studio albums, putting him in the upper echelons of world music artist sales.
Habib draws on styles from the different regions of Mali, rather than solely on the music of his particular area as most Malian musicians do. Habib has gained a strong fan base by integrating the rock and folk sounds of the Western world, without watering down his cherished Malian roots. Habib descends from a line of griots, traditional troubadors who provide wit, wisdom and entertainment and his charisma and magnetism translates across cultures.