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We’re closing out our program today with music by Issa Bagayogo.

He’s from rural southern Mali.

Issa Bagayogo plays a West African stringed instrument called the n’goni. It’s similar to a lute or banjo.

Issa Bagayogo first brought his n’goni to a recording studio in Bamako, Mali back in 1991.

He recorded a cassette of traditional West African music. He had high hopes for a musical career.

But nothing happened.

So he found work as a bus driver and sought solace in drugs and alcohol.

But then one day Bagayogo went back to the studio and his luck changed.

He met a French producer and a guitarist. They liked what they heard.

Seventeen years after making that first cassette, Issa Bagayogo now performs all over Africa.

He’s about to release his fourth album. It’s called Mali Koura.

Like Issa Bagayogo’s other albums, Mali Koura is an Afro-European hybrid.

It mixes traditional West African n’goni with elements of rock, reggae, funk and dub.

He’s now known in Mali and around the continent as Techno-Issa.

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