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Campus Life

NC State Unplugged: Hear Acclaimed African Artists

Modern troubadour Habib Koité returns to NC State for an acoustic performance April 16.

It’s been 13 years since Mali’s biggest pop star made his first stop at NC State. Habib Koité evokes an unusual level of adoration from his fans – both locally, and from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, who once compared him to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn in a Rolling Stone interview.

Koité returns for his fourth appearance on the NC State LIVE series 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16, as part of the 2016 Acoustic Africa tour. He’ll be joined in Stewart Theatre by South African superstar Vusi Mahlasela, who also has a fan base in the Triangle, with previous performances at NC State, UNC and Duke. Purchase tickets by phone at 919-515-1100 or visit

Vusi Mahlasela is simply known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa.
Vusi Mahlasela is simply known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa.

After worldwide critical and commercial success in 2006, 2011 and 2013, the fourth installment of Acoustic Africa’s exhilarating journey focuses on the richness of the African traditions of voice and song.

A modern troubadour with extraordinary appeal, Koité‘s musicianship, wit and wisdom translate across cultures. Hailing from the musically prolific West African nation of Mali, the guitarist and composer has been named the biggest pop star of the region by Rolling Stone, delighting audiences the world over and selling more than 250,000 albums. Over the past decade, his artistry and magnetic personality have made him an international star, placing him firmly among the leading figures in contemporary world music.

Mahlasela, is simply known as “The Voice” in his home country of South Africa, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect Apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise for a better future.

Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he still resides, Mahlasela became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age. After his popular debut on BMG Africa, When You Come Back, he was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and continues to spread Mandela’s message as an official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative, 46664.