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.
Le monde est fait de mille curiosités que le rythme effréné de la vie moderne ne nous donne plus le temps de découvrir, de regarder ou d’écouter. Cette petite encyclopédie originale et ludique vise à rétablir le lien entre le lecteur et l’univers qui l’entoure. Il suffit d’en tourner les pages pour partir à la conquête d’un monde inconnu, le nôtre !