About the Artist
From: Charlotte, North Carolina United States
Combining passionate originality and fierce authenticity, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba take West African dance music into new territory—literally, the North Carolina Piedmont. That’s where Cissokho, a griot born to a family of professional musicians in Senegal, makes his transplanted home.
The repertoire is pure Manding, the centuries-old musical culture of Cissokho’s ancestors. It’s reformulated with modernizing impulses in a rock band format: Agile basslines interweave with the melodic twins of kora and electric guitar, undergirded by an explosive rhythm section of djembe and trapset drums. Kora master Cissokho is also the group’s vocal frontman. His electrifying voice propels songs old and new about timeless themes of mythology, migration and universal love. Irrepressible dance grooves, serpentine guitar work, and Cissokho’s soulful vocals and kora playing illuminate stories of ancient West Africa in a globalizing world. In fact, “universal love” is a rough translation of “Kaira Ba,” a promise the band communicates live.