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Habib Koit to Kick Off Hammer Theatre Center's Black Cab Jazz Series in November

Habib Koit to Kick Off Hammer Theatre Center's Black Cab Jazz Series in November

Black Cab Jazz will present a diverse lineup of today’s hottest jazz musicians curated by San José Jazz.

Hammer Theatre Center will launch its sizzling Black Cab Jazz series with Malian guitarist Habib Koité, one of Africa's most popular and recognized musicians. With more than 400,000 albums sold and over 1,700 concerts performed around the world, Koité has built an exemplary career with a foot firmly rooted in his culture. Black Cab Jazz - a collaboration between the Hammer Theatre, San José Jazz, and San José State University - will present a diverse lineup of today's hottest jazz musicians curated by San José Jazz in the intimate Hammer4 studio, which features cabaret-style 4-top seating. Habib Koité will be presented 7:00pm, Sunday, November 6, 2022, at the Hammer4 Studio, 101 Paseo De San Antonio, San José. For more information or to purchase tickets ($25-$35), the public may visit hammertheatre.com or call (408) 924-8501.

Habib Koité was born into the Khassonké griot caste, a hereditary tradition of performers and storytellers. As a child, he taught himself to play guitar so that he could accompany his mother's singing. Koité's intuitive grasp of the instrument led to his acceptance at the National Institute of Arts at 20 years old in 1978, where he had the opportunity to play with the country's top musicians - first as a student and then as a teacher. Koité takes a unique approach to playing the guitar, tuning his instrument to the pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a ngoni, a traditional West African guitar. Unlike the griots, Koité's singing style is restrained and intimate with varying cadenced rhythms and melodies.

When he was 30, Koité formed a band called Bamada, which toured Mali extensively before heading to France to take first place in the 1991 Perpignan Voxpole Festival. Following this win, Bamada recorded its single Cigarette a Bana, which swept across West Africa in a tidal wave of popularity with its catchy lyrics and infectious beats. Four years later, Koité released his debut album and gained immediate international acclaim. His album Ma Ya, released in 1998, was lauded for its social consciousness and dance-inducing rhythms, and marked Koité's first American release. One of the few African artists to appear on Late Night with David Letterman, he has also participated in memorable theme tours alongside other artists.


Owned by the City of San José and operated by San José State University, the Hammer Theatre Center is a state-of-the-art performance venue located in the heart of downtown San José at 101 Paseo De San Antonio, between 2nd and 3rd Streets. The theatre has presented an array of offerings including outstanding professional productions, community-based works, SJSU shows, and concerts, as well as dance, music, talks, film screenings-even live aerial performances with dancers suspended outside, scaling the sides of the iconic blue building. From jazz performances to mariachi extravaganzas, National Geographic Live! speaker series to National Theatre Live film screenings, Cinequest film festival presentations, ballet and modern dance shows, kid-friendly performances, live art and more, the Hammer's mission is to serve the community through artistic and educational programming that express the unique characteristics and diverse cultures of Silicon Valley.


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