News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 26, 2021
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Mandingo Ambassadors at Barbès

By Alexandra Glorioso
Band at Barbès
Photo Courtesy of Barbès

Wed., April 6, 10 p.m.: The Mandingo Ambassadors at Barbès, enchanting Guinean music, every Wednesday.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the government of Guinea engaged in a campaign known as Authenticité. It was a drive to create a new musical movement that would be specifically Guinean, but would include electric guitar, the electric bass and the drumset. Musicians were given instruments and orchestras were formed. Surprisingly, the results proved mesmerizing and myriad new bands were born. Many of them would go on to have a profound and lasting impact on African music.

Mamady Kouyate was one of those pioneers. He played in various bands – his own band, Les Ambassadeurs du Mandingue, being one of them – but is probably best known as the guitarist in the classic Bembeya Jazz National. Kouyate, who now lives in New York, has reformed the Mandingo Ambassadors, updating the sound of his youth, but keeping it very close to the standard of Authenticité.

The new All-Star band includes Ismael Kouyate – vocals; Mamady Kourouma – guitar; Oran Etkin – tenor sax & clarinets; Sylvain Leroux – flute, tambin and alto sax; Andy Algire – drums; Nick Cudahy – bass and Mamady Kouyate – guitar. “dazzling vocal and guitar patterns over a rhythm section that is like a perfect system,’ says Ben Ratliff of the New York Times.

$10 donation suggested


376 9th St.

347 422 0248


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