Traditional Kora Players -
The Next Generation
You haven't heard Ba Cissoko yet, if you still think Kora
music sounds too foreign and dusty for your
taste: These young, hip kora players push
traditional griot music to another level!
Some elders in Guinea don't approve of this modern use of
instrument. But they can't deny that the group exposes the Kora to a
wider audience. Even we newbies to African music will enjoy their
Ba Cissoko from Guinea
Ba, the front man of the group, was born in
Guinea into the Cissoko family, which sealed his fate: If you are a
Cissoko, you are a kora player. As a typical teenager though, Ba had no
interest in the music of his forefathers. He found the kora
to be old and passé.
But because he wasn't interested in
school either, Ba didn't do very well any any area of his life. As a
last resort, the stubborn boy was sent to his uncle, a famous
player and teacher.
Under this man's patient tutelage, Ba
started playing and appreciating the
traditional instrument of his family.
Eventually, Ba was hired to play at a hotel in Conakry, where he
started to play jazz, reggae and covers of Western songs.
One day, he met
Frenchman Gilles Poizat, a known trumpet player, who wanted to learn
to play the Kora. The two hit it off, and eventually formed a
group with other musicians and dancers. "Tamalalou" was in
demand in the live circuit and did very
well until they decided to go separate ways
Traditional Music With A Modern Push
Ba finally formed a group with talented kora players, which he simply
calls "Ba Cissoko". Together, they give the family tradition and the
unique sound of the kora a modern push:
The catchy rhythms and electric
lines make these African tunes familiar
enough for us Westerners to enjoy. Listening to these refreshing young
guy is pure pleasure!
Although the group concentrates on the many live
shows in both Africa and Europe, it was able to produce three
excellent albums: Sabolan
. They are
available online. Check
What do YOU think about Ba Cissoko?
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