Sub Pop Records and KEXP's Jon Kertzer (host of The Best Ambiance, which airs music from Africa and the Caribbean islands on Mondays 6 pm-9 pm) are partnering to form Next Ambiance, a world-music-oriented imprint. Its first release, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba’s I Speak Fula, will be available digitally Dec. 1; the CD comes out Feb. 2, 2010. You can catch the band opening for Béla Fleck at Triple Door March 16.

Respect to Sub Pop for expanding its horizons and disseminating music with which its main demographic likely isn't familiar. Kertzer should be an excellent curator for this new venture.

Press release after the jump.


Next Ambiance’s Debut Album, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba’s I Speak Fula,
Scheduled for Digital Release in North America on December 1st, 2009

SEATTLE, WA — Sub Pop Records and KEXP radio host Jon Kertzer have come together to form Next Ambiance, a world music imprint. Malian band Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba’s I Speak Fula will be the first album out on Next Ambiance, and is scheduled for digital release on iTunes, December 1st, 2009 and for CD release on February 2nd, 2009. The band will embark on their first US tour, opening for nine-time Grammy winner Bela Fleck, in early 2010 in support of the record. Tour dates and more information provided below.

Next Ambiance:
Founded by Jon Kertzer, the host of KEXP's "The Best Ambiance" radio show, a long-running weekly program that focuses on both pop and traditional music from the African continent, Next Ambiance continues the musical exploration, with an emphasis on mind-blowing and life-changing artists with no particular regional or cultural bias.

"I've listened and learned so much from Jon's show ("The Best Ambiance") for half of my life. It just seemed natural to put his knowledge, resources and remarkable taste to further use. It'll certainly be a boon to listeners everywhere," commented Sub Pop Records co-founder, Jonathan Poneman. “Our first release with Bassekou Kouyate and his incredible band Ngoni ba from Mali in West Africa, is the perfect way to begin this new adventure. Their album I Speak Fula captures this truly original music, like nothing you have heard before.”

Don't expect many releases from Sub Pop/Next Ambiance initially. After all, it's going to take a particularly brave artist or artists to follow Bassekou. Sub Pop/Next Ambiance will release I Speak Fula throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“I am very excited to be working with Sub Pop on the Next Ambiance imprint to release the best of the world’s music, innovative and ground-breaking sounds that follow new paths,” stated Kertzer.

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba:
Malian Bassekou Kouyate made his international debut with the 2007 album Segu Blue. Released by Out Here Records, the album received critical acclaim and won the band the coveted honor of performing on the Jools Holland Show, as well as 2008 BBC 3 nomination for Best Newcomer , going on to win in both the Album of the Year category as well as Best African Act.

Their sophomore effort, I Speak Fula, was released on September 21, 2009 in the UK and, unsurprisingly, received widespread critical acclaim. Known for their riveting live performances, I Speak Fula more effectively conveys the energy and infectious intensity of that experience than the band’s first album. In October 2009 Bassekou once again performed on The Jools Holland Show alongside the likes of Yoko Ono and The Dead Weather.

“This is a cracker.”**** Mojo
“A contender for African album of the year” ***** Uncut
“…the best rock’n’roll band in the world.” The Independent

Beginning in early February 2010, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba will share the bill with Bela Fleck for their inaugural tour through the United States.

2010 Tour Dates:
2/2 Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
2/2 Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
2/3 Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM
2/4 Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO
2/5 Wheeler Opera House, Aspen, CO
2/6 Avalon Theater, Grand Junction, CO
2/8 Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
2/10 Granada Theater, Dallas, TX
2/11 Lyric Theater, Oxford, MS
2/12 Murray State University, Murray, KY
2/13 Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS
2/14 (T) Urbana, IL
2/16 House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
2/17 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2/18 Ohio University, Athens, OH
2/19 Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
2/20 Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha, NE
2/21 Old Town School, Chicago, IL
2/22 Miami University, Hamilton, OH
2/24 Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE
2/25 University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
2/26 Opera House, Waterville, ME
2/27 Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
3/1 Ottawa Jazz Festival. Ottawa, CAN
3/2 Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
3/3 Penn State University, State College, PA
3/4 Jefferson Center, Roanoke, VA
3/5 Weinberg Center, Frederick, MD
3/6 Georgia Tech University, Atlanta, GA
3/8 Plaza Theater, Orlando, FL
3/9 Sunrise Theater, Fort Pierce, FL
3/10 Florida Theater, Jacksonville, FL
3/11 BAMA Theater, Tuscaloosa, AL
3/12 Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
3/14 Vancouver Olympics
3/15 Vancouver Olympics
3/16 Triple Door, Seattle, WA
3/20 Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA
3/21 Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA
3/25 Philidelphia
3/26 Zankel Hall New York, NY
3/27 Somerville Theater Somerville, MA
3/28 The Strand, rockland, ME
3/30 Sanctuary for Independant Media VS Iheg, Troy, NY
3/31 Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT
4/2 Savannah Music Festival with Bill Frisell Trio, Savannah, GA
4/3 Savannah Music Festival with Bill Frisell Trio, Savannah, GA
4/7 Outreach-Lee Theatre, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO
4/7 Lee Theatre, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center St. Louis, MO
4/8 Legion Arts Cedar Rapids, IA
4/9 Legion Arts VS Madison
4/10 The Cedar Minneapolis, MN
4/15 NMSU Music Recital Hall,Las Cruces, NM
4/16 Outpost Albuquerque, NM
4/17 Austin Reggae Festival vs Bulder H1, AUSTIN, TX
4/18 International Festival, Houston, TX
4/23 Festival International, Lafayette, LA
4/24 Festival International, Lafayette, LA
4/25 New Orleans Jazz Festival, New Orleans, LA
More dates to be announced.

More about Sub Pop Records:
Sub Pop Records was founded in 1988 by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman. The Seattle-based label was the original home to such legendary bands as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, and has enjoyed more recent successes with such artists as The Postal Service, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Band of Horses, Flight of the Conchords, and Fleet Foxes.

In 2002, Sub Pop came into contact with Minneapolis’ De Stijl Records when trying to track down Michael Yonkers, whose Microminiature Love was spinning constantly on office stereos. They entered into a production and distribution agreement with De Stijl that has spawned reissues from Ju Suk Reet Meate (of Smegma,) Ed Askew and 39 Clocks as well as original material from Pens, Jacob Olaussen, King Darves and more.

Sub Pop founded subsidiary label Hardly Art in early 2007. With a smaller staff but no less immodest goals, Hardly Art is able to focus its energies on emerging talent from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Since its inception, Hardly Art has ushered in acclaimed debuts from The Moondoggies, The Dutchess & the Duke, Le Loup, and more.

Sub Pop is pleased to welcome Next Ambiance to its family of labels.