Arts, Culture & Media

Global hit - Joep Pelt and Lobi Traore

The annual South by Southwest music conference is under way this week in Austin, Texas. My colleague Marco Werman is there. And he caught up with Dutch blues guitarist Joep Pelt and Malian blues guitarist Lobi Traore. Traore is called the inventor of "Bambara blues." The sound is associated with the Bambara people of Mali, but it resembles the progression in a twelve-bar blues. The duo's CD comes out this Spring in the U.S. It's called "I Yougoba."The two performed the title track for Marco as he was "guest deejaying" at station KUT in Austin.

I'm Marco Werman. Of course I'm with PRI's The World in Boston, magically transported down in Austin for a few days.

Also, wriggling my fanny in my chair to the sounds of Lobi Traore and Joep Pelt. What was that Joep?

PELT: That was a "I Yougoba" the first song from our record. It's a shout that people say to each other on the dance floor in Bamako. It means something like "Shake what you got baby."

WERMAN: How did you guys meet?

PELT: Well we met in 2004. I was travelling to Mali to find inspiration and new ingredients for my music. I saw Lobi Traore play electric and he played that hot dance music and I was totally amazed and thought "Wow, this could be something." So, it blended in and now we're actually touring the United States.

WERMAN: And when you say it blended in you're talking about a Malian blues with what you play, which is electric blues rock. What's blending?

PELT: I think everything is blending -- from rock, to soul, to funk, to bambara music. It's just something that came out natural.

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