Tag Archives: kora

Artist profiles: Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh was born in London in 1983. She is the first female kora virtuoso from the prestigious West African Jobarteh jeli (griot) family coming from a long line of hereditary musicians. She is the granddaughter of the master jeli Amadu Bansang Jobarteh and cousin to the celebrated kora maestro Toumani Diabate.

In her teenage years, Sona attended the Royal College of Music, the Purcell School of Music and worked on several orchestral projects including the ‘River of Sound’ with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She also performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Britten Sinfonia Milton Keynes City Orchestra and the Viva Chamber Orchestra, Toumani Diabate, Damon Albarn, Oumou Sangare, Kasse Mady Diabate, Sambou Suso, Juldeh Camara to name just a few. She also composed music for the film,Motherland: The Score” for the multi-award winning film Motherland.

Sona Jobarteh released her album Fasiya (West African Guild Records) in 2011. Fasiya includes renowned West African musicians such as Juldeh Camara Sankung Jobarteh Femi Temowo Baba Galle Kante Babacar Dieng and Surahata Susso.

Discography

Music of the Diaspora (5 Years Later Soundtrack) – (Souljazzfunk 2006)
Afro Acoustic Soul (Sona Soul Records 2008)
Motherland: The Score (African Guild Records 2010)
Fasiya (African Guild Records 2011)

Share

Sekou Kouyate to Showcase at Visa for Music in Rabat

Guinean kora innovator Sekou Kouyate is set to perform on November 23, 2017 at 21:30 at Salle la Renaissance in Rabat, Morocco. This concert is part of the Visa for Music showcases.

The lineup includes Sekou Kouyate on electric kora and vocals; Teun Creemers on bass; and Frank Durand on drums.

Sekou Kouyate released an excellent solo album in 2015 titled Sabaru.

Share

Melodic Kora Designs

Kane Mathis – Counterpoints

Kane Mathis – Counterpoints (2017)

American composer and multi-instrumentalist Kane Mathis has been a student and player of the West African kora for many years. On Counterpoints he delivers a set of 6 musical pieces played on a Mandinka Magic kora, crafted by luthier Jeffrey Bodony.

Counterpoints includes 4 traditional Mandinka melodies along with two original compositions, “Mamaandi” and “Sila Mesengo” by Mathis.

Counterpoints is a remarkable collection of solo pieces on the 21-string West African harp known as kora.

The album is available from kanemathis.bandcamp.com

Share

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal Announce Fall 2017 West Coast Tour

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal will be touring the West coast of the United States this fall.

Malian kora maestro Ballaké Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal released the acclaimed album Chamber Music in 2011. The duo released a second recording titled Musique du Nuit in 2015.

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal Fall U.S. Tour Dates:

10/22: Plestcheef Auditorium at Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, WA
10/24: The Old Church, Portland, OR
10/26: Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA
10/27: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre – Monday, Davis, CA
10/28: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre – Monday, Davis, CA
10/30: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
11/1: Temple of Israel, Los Angeles, CA
11/2: Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad, CA
11/3: MIM Music Theater, Phoenix, AZ

Share

Artist Profiles: Kane Mathis

Kane Mathis

Kane Mathis has been making annual trips to The Gambia, West Africa to study the 21-string harp called Kora played by the bards of the Mandinka people. Kane’s teacher is Jeli Ba Malamini Jobarteh who is one of the living legends of the Kora. Recognizing Kane’s seriousness with Kora, Jeli Ba Malamini Jobarteh gave Kane a regimen of Kora training never before undertaken by a non-African.

In addition to his learning with Malamini Jobarteh Kane has studied African music extensively over the past ten years. Kane’s present goal with Kora is to remain with the Mandinka musical tradition and along with the many other players and scholars of this music bring it to further recognition around the world.

Discography:

Songs from the Cedar House

Counterpoints (Nyatoo Music, 2017)

Share

Artist Profiles: Ba Cissoko

Ba Cissoko

Ba Cissoko is a talented Guinean multi-instrumentalists and vocalist. He’s a jeli (also known as griot), part of a long line of master musicians. He learned traditional Mandinka music from M’ Bady Kouyaté.

Although he’s a kora (West African harp) master, Ba Cissoko also plays ngoni, guitar and percussion. His band regularly features a second kora player, creating fascinating interplay.

Ba Cissoko’s sound is a mix of electric Mandinka music and traditional influences. Ba Cissoko incorporates rock, reggae and pop into his sound. The kora is played traditional style and electrified as well.

 

Ba Cissoko

 

His first major international appearance was in 1995 in Marseilles at the Festival Nuits Métis. In 1999 he formed his band.

 

 

Discography:

Sabolan (2002)
Electric Griot Land (2006)
Séno (2009)
Nimissa (Cristal Records, 2012)
Djeli (Cristal Records, 2016)

Share

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal to perform at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal

 

Malian kora maestro Ballaké Sissoko and French cello virtuoso Vincent Segal are set to perform on Tuesday February 28 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina.

The two musicians have developed a distinctive hybrid musical style that mixes traditional West African and European Baroque music.

The duo released a remarkable debut album titled Chamber Music, released in North America in 2011. Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal continued the collaboration in 2015 with Musique du Nuit.

 

 

Tuesday February 28 at 8 PM
The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main Street, Carrboro, NC.

Tickets for this show are $22. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit artscenterlive.org or call the Box Office at (919) 929-2787.

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal will start their North American tour tomorrow. Tour dates:

Feb. 23, Berea College, Berea KY
Feb. 24, University of VT, Burlington VT
Feb. 25, Palais Montcalm, Quebec
Feb. 26, Le Gesu, Montreal
Feb. 28, The Arts Center, Carrboro NC
March 1, The Barns at Wolftrap Vienna
March 3, French Institute Alliance, New York NY
March 4, Villa Victoria, Boston, MA
March 5, North Beach Band Shell, Miami Beach
March 8, Old Town School of Folk, Chicago IL
March 9, Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN

Share

Where World Music Intersects World Jazz

Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita – Transparent Water (Ota Records, 2017)

Music fans should settle in and enjoy the sumptuous ride that is Transparent Water. Co-creator Omar Sosa, the Cuban-born composer, bandleader and pianist, has such recordings as Eggun – The Afri-Lectric Experience, Jog, Ile and Calma under his belt, while Seckou Keita, the Senegalese kora master, has released albums like 22 Strings/Cordes, Afro-Mandinka Soul with his own Seckou Keita Quartet and Clychau Dibon. Joining forces under the Ota Records label, Transparent Water, set for release on February 24th, pairs Mr. Sosa’s Afro-Cuban and jazz sensibilities with the lush African traditions of Mr. Keita’s long musical legacy of his griot family.

Transparent Water is where world music meets world jazz, where tradition meets improvisation and where the lines of spiritual and earthy meet. The result is stunningly evocative.

With Mr. Sosa on piano, Fender Rhodes, sampling, microKorg and vocals and Mr. Keita firmly enticing listeners with his kora mastery, as well as talking drum, djembe, sabar and vocals, listeners are treated to the interplay between these two musicians and composers. But as luck would have it, Mr. Sosa and Mr. Keita turn the music on its ears with the additions of Chinese musician Wu Tong on sheng and bawu; Japanese koto master Mieko Miyazaki; Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles on bata drums, culo’puya, maracas, guataca, calabaza and clave; Korean geojungo player E’Joung-Ju; and Rajasthani nagadi player Mosin Khan Kawa.

Cuban rhythms, African melodies and Asian influences pile up, separate and mesh together in an expansive musical tapestry where it’s impossible to pull at one musical thread and undo the lot.

Like water, Transparent Water flows easy from the jazzy opening track “Dary” into the delicately piano and kora interplay of “In the Forest.” Lush track flows into lush track with goodies like the sheng laced “Black Dream,” the catchy African influenced “Mining-Nah” with Mr. Keita’s vocals warming up the track and mysteriously moody “Another Prayer.”

Listeners can’t help but be charmed by tracks like sassy offering “Fatiliku,” the dreamy musical landscape of “Oni Yalorde” with Mr. Tong on the bawu or the piano lines of “Zululand.” Transparent Water is one of those recordings that requires listeners stop and really listen and it’s best if you just go with its flow.

Mr. Sosa, Mr. Keita and company have conjured up a truly brilliant collaboration on Transparent Water. Mesmerizing, evocative and sophisticated, Transparent Water begs for a listen.

Buy Transparent Water in the Americas

Buy Transparent Water in Europe

Share

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal Announce 2017 North American Tour

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal will return to North American stages in 2017, with their first tour on this side of the Atlantic since 2011. Malian kora master Ballaké Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal charmed critics and fans alike with their splendid debut Chamber Music, released in North America in 2011.

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Chamber Music

The duo followed this success up with 2015’s Musique du Nuit that intensified the kora with cello hybrid sound.

Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal – Musique De Nuit

Ballaké and Vincent will begin the first part of their 2017 North American tour with stops in eleven cities in February and March, including Quebec, Montreal, New York City, Chicago, Miami, and more.

The duo will return for a second leg of touring in autumn 2017, with more dates to be announced.

Watch Ballaké and Vincent on Youtube

Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal 2017 Tour Dates:

Feb. 23, Berea College, Berea KY
Feb. 24, University of VT, Burlington VT
Feb. 25, Palais Montcalm, Quebec
Feb. 26, Le Gesu, Montreal
Feb. 28, The Arts Center, Carrboro NC
March 1 The Barns at Wolftrap, Vienna VA
March 3 French Institute Alliance New York NY
March 4 Villa Victoria, Boston, MA
March 5, North Beach Band Shell, Miami Beach
March 8, Old Town School of Folk, Chicago IL
March 9, Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN

Share

Artist Profiles: Ousseynou Kouyate

Ousseynou Kouyate was a member of the National Ballet of Senegal for seven years before moving to Berkeley with his twin brother Assane and starting their colorful music/dance band Djialy Kunda Kouyate (now known as Sekhou Senegal), using such indigenous instruments as the kora and balafon.

Kouyate is a descendant of griots who carries on age-old traditions. He has performed in various world music collaborations at Ashkenaz music club with such musicians as fellow African star Solo Cissokho and Cajun/zydeco fiddler Tom Rigney.

Share