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The kora — a West African instrument that sounds like a harp — has become increasingly popular in the West via performers such as Foday Musa Suso and Toumani Diabaté. There are a number of recordings of traditional practitioners, but increasingly, kora players are engaging with non-African collaborators to create new sounds. On Chamber Music, the Malian Ballaké Sissoko and the French cellist Vincent Segal make lovely music that has the intimacy and refinement that the album’s title implies. The kora has an elegant, courtly quality steeped in tradition, as does the cello, so the pairing is a natural one. The opening title track gives the listener an idea of what follows: the musicians play a theme together and then take turns playing lead. “Oscarine” comes off like a slice of jazzy psych-folk, thanks in part to Segal’s pizzicato work. On “Houdesti”, Mahamadou Kamissoko plays ngoni (a stringed instrument), and Fassery Diabate joins in on the marimba-like balafon; the results are both mellow and energized. Awa Sanagho speaks and sings on “Regret - à Kader Barry”, a track that is nicely colored by the scrape of the karignan.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the modern-day masters of his instrument, Ballaké Sissoko is a Malian kora player who found success as a recording artist, generally in collaboration with others, most notably fellow Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté. Born in 1968 in Mali and based in Paris, France, he is the son of Jelimady Sissoko, a master of the kora. Sissoko first made a name for himself as a recording artist in 1999 with co-billing on the Toumani Diabaté album New Ancient Strings. The following year, he released the...
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Chamber Music, Ballaké Sissoko
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  • 79,00 kr
  • Genres: World, Music, Rock
  • Released: 12 October 2009

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