Desert blues: Leni Stern

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

Play­ing the blues at the Fes­ti­val in the Desert in Tim­buktu, Mali, nine years ago was a trans­for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for gui­tarist Leni Stern, who plays on Tues­day, July 21, at 7:15 p.m., in a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Santa Fe Bandstand sum­mer con­cert se­ries and the New Mexico Jazz Fes­ti­val. Also life-chang­ing were her col­lab­o­ra­tions with three of Mali’s mu­sic stars: Amy Sacko and her hus­band, Bassekou Kouy­ate, and Toumani Di­a­bate. She learned to play the the African an­ces­tor of the banjo, un­der Kouy­ate — and she was sur­prised to find that a lot of the old Amer­i­can blues riffs are eas­ier to play on the ngoni than on the guitar. Stern has been tour­ing for years now (some­times also play­ing ngoni) with African mu­si­cians. She takes the Plaza stage for a free con­cert with Sene­galese bassist Ma­madou Ba (a vet­eran of work with Harry Be­la­fonte and Archie Shepp), Nige­rian drum­mer Kofo, and Sene­galese per­cus­sion­ist Alioune Faye. Cal Haines’ Flora Purim Pro­ject opens. Check out www.santafeband­stand. org and www.newmex­i­co­jaz­zfes­ti­ — P.W.

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