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Ba Cissoko

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Album Review

From Guinea, the group Ba Cissoko stand out from many other African acts with similar influences by using both a conventional and an electric kora, as well as electric guitar that sometimes employs fuzz and wah-wah effects. In other respects, their music is more aligned with traditional African folk and pop, relying on consistently bubbly grooves, mellifluous playing, and upbeat melodies and vocals. The English translations included in the liner notes indicate the songs tell basic stories of traveling, romance, and getting by, sometimes with a gently moralizing tone. At its most propulsive, the arrangements borrow substantially from rock, funk, and jazz, yet the lilt of the kora might link it to some listeners' ears with folkier Western forms. This is more a CD to play to get into a nearly hour-long good-time lope than it is one for picking out individual tracks that stand out from each other, though on that basis it makes for pleasant listening.


Born: 1967 in Koundara, Guinea

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Ba Cissoko is not only a master of the kora and one of the instrument's leading proponents, but a member of griot (master singers, kora players, and storytellers) legacy. So much so that the Cissoko name means nothing less than kora mastery. Though his father was a nationally recognized artist, his instruction did not hook young Ba on the instrument or minstrel lifestyle, as he preferred soccer to both music and his studies. When his uncle M'Baty Kouyate learned of Ba's indifference, he offered to...
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Top Albums and Songs by Ba Cissoko

Séno, Ba Cissoko
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