West African Traditions with European Shine

Ba Cissoko – Nimissa
Ba Cissoko

Nimissa (Cristal Records, 2012)

With recording like Seno, Sabolan and Electric Griot Land to his credit, Ba Cissoko is back with one cool, hip track after another with his latest Nimissa. Originally from Guinea and now living in France, Ba Cissoko has teamed up with producer Philippe Eidel of Gipsy Kings fame to throw a little French influence into the mix and kick up the grooves of this kora crazed rock band. Fans diving headlong into the swirling grooves and dishy percussion lines of Nimissa aren’t likely to come up any time soon.

Plunging into the grooves along with master kora player and singer Ba Cissoko are Sekou Kouyate on electric kora and vocals, Ibrahima Kourou Kouyate on bass guitar, Abdoulaye Kouyate on guitar, Alhassane Camara on drums, Laurent Rigaud on drums and the Ava Saty Marching Band on brass. And these musicians leave nothing but a cool hipness in their wake, drawing deeply on West African musical traditions with enough of a slick European shine to keep the whole body of work afloat.

Opening with the savvy flare of “Ako,” Ba Cissoko and friends take the listener on a ride filled with plenty of delicious grooves like the energetic title track “Nimissa,” the easy groove of “Politiki” and sweetly worked “Loumo.” But it’s tracks like “Naboran,” the savagely hipness of “N’Tenlebidge” and “Djoulo Diata” and kora work of “”Kelefaba,” “Djeli Fatouma” and “N’Goni Ba” that transform this recording into something extraordinary.

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