When Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal released their first collaborative album, Chamber Music, they caught the music world by surprise. Everything about this duo was unexpected: the Malian master of the traditional harp, or kora; the French cellist with the unlikely background in trip-hop; and the elegant, soulful music they made together. The album appeared on numerous best-of lists in both Europe (in 2009) and North America (in 2011). Now, these two sonic voyagers have returned with Musique de Nuit (“Night Music”) – an album which may not have the same element of surprise, but which may be even more spellbinding than its predecessor.
Ballake Sissoko opens his new album, “At Peace,” with “Maimouna,” his solo showcase for the kora, the West African harp with 21 strings rising vertically from a huge calabash gourd. For those unfamiliar with the instrument, its broad range, sparkling tone and shimmering effects are vividly displayed here. For those who do know the kora, Sissoko is a virtuoso who can run through a blur of speeding notes and then brake for a crisply articulated theme. On this piece, Sissoko repeats the same descending figure, but with the melodic path and rhythmic organization slightly altered each time.
Toumani Diabate is one of the finest contemporary kora players. Diabate teams with Ballake Sissoko for New Ancient Strings, a collection of African harp duets. Recorded in one take in Diabate's native Mali, New Ancient Strings is at once ethereal and earthy.
Not since George & Tammy and Conway & Loretta has there been a vocal duet performance like Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary, two of the greatest singers in this generation of country music. Their special ability to turn a note is unmatched, and that magical sound pierces the heart and soul of anyone who loves traditional country music.
“Loving Vincent” is the upcoming biographical animated film from newcomer directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. The movie follows Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), the son of an acquaintance of Vincent van Gogh, as he attempts to deliver a letter from the painter following van Gogh’s death. Armand soon finds himself retracing the steps taken by Vincent in his final days in an attempt to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. A film unlike any other, “Loving Vincent” is entirely hand painted – each of the movie’s 65,000 frames is an oil painting on a canvas created using the same techniques as Vincent van Gogh. Good Deed Entertainment is releasing “Loving Vincent” on September 22nd in New York before expanding to Los Angeles on September 29th and nationally on October 6th. In addition to being a wonder for the eyes, “Loving Vincent” is a treat for the ears. Scoring duties fell to English composer Clint Mansell (Requiem For A Dream, Black Swan), who has crafted a masterpiece.