Artist Profiles: Nino Galissa

Nino Galissa

Bubacar Galissa Kouyaté, better known as Nino Galissa, is a songwriter and kora player born in Gabu (Guinea Bissau) where he grew up steeped in the world of the kora. He currently lives in Spain.

Nino is the descendent of a Manding jali (griot) family, the fathers of West African music, counselors to kings and jealous guardians of the Manding musical heritage for centuries.

The jalis work as social historians relaying chronicles from one country to another. Consequently Nino, with a view to adapting this role to the present day, began to compose songs with a social end according to the need of people to witness the lived and the yet to be lived. For periods of crisis, encouragement, periods of plenty, a reminder of those less fortunate. In times of suffering, sympathy, and a recognition of the priceless value of the happier times.

In 1997 he recorded his first album, “N’Namolu” (My People), where he fuses traditional West African music with pop, funk, reggae and jazz. The album included lyrics written in Mandinka, Creole, Portuguese, English and Spanish that deal with social problems, class inequality, the cruelty of the human being, love, and peace. In December 2000, Spanish label Ventilador Music released it worldwide.

In 2002 his second album was published, “Djambadon” (“Ritmo de las hojas”) produced by Nino Galissa himself. His professional career began to expand by showcasing at various international events. The following year he was selected as “Upcoming Artist” by the AIE (“Association of Performers of Spain”) to carry out a tour at national level within the program” Artists in Route”.

In 2004, Nino Galissa released his third album “Mindjer” (“Woman”), projecting his career as a musician internationally. A disc dedicated to women that generated the “Tour Mindjer.”

“Mindjer” is born out of the sadness that Nino Galissa felt after learning about the numerous and frequent cases of domestic violence. “Mindjer” featured kora combined with percussion instruments, and with dance, a very special show based on African roots along with Afropop. In June of 2004, he presented his first music video: “Afri Mansaya”.

In 2009, he released: “Africa Today”, where he reflects the Africa with which he dreams: where hunger, misery, war, disease, and death (pushing the youth to migrate) cease to be news, with music taking its place. Music as the protagonist and symbol of union among all Africans, and of solidarity with them. For this reason, all the songs on the album carry a message of Hope, Love and Peace, integrating all the styles of the current Music of Africa.


N’Namolu (Ventilador, 2000)
Djambadon (Ventilador, 2002)
Mindjer (Ventilador, 2004)
Africa Today (2009)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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