Monday, January 21, 2013

Diabel Cissokho, Kanabory Siyama

Great African kora players have something about them that we American continent folks respond to very readily. Or at least I do. The West African stringed instrument in the right hands has a bluesy complexity, a virtuoso soulfulness that fits in well with the jazz, blues, rock and such that have filled our heads for so many years.

Diabel Cissokho surely is one of those players. A member of the Cissokho Griot lineage, he grew up in Dakar and eventually came to master the grand tradition of the kora. His new album Kanabory Siyama (World Village) shows the fruit of the labor, along with excellent singing by Diabel and chorus, a traditional percussion accompaniment and the punch of an electric bass.

And what results is music of magic! He's a player we can all learn something from. His music we can all be thrilled by--if you are disposed in the first place or even if you don't know about this.

I studied with a prominent classical-Western percussionist many years ago. During a lesson he remarked that one of his students was very lucky because he was discovering Beethoven's late quartets for the first time. Well, now, if you discover great kora music for the first time (via this excellent album) you are equally lucky!

Paste the following URL in your browser and get sounds and words from Diabel directly.

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