Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze


A month ago I was looking for music for my world-music show on KZFR when I discovered the Sira CD in the station’s library. Shortly after, seemingly by magic, Café Culture hosted a most enchanting concert with the men who recorded the music, Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze, as they visited during their first-ever world tour. Senegalese griot Cissoko sings in the traditional Mandinka dialect and is a master of the 21-string kora. And accomplished German-born Goetze creates a unique sound with his muted trumpet and flugelhorn, echoing Cissoko’s vocal melodies. “Sira” means mermaid and is the name of one of Cissoko’s daughters, and all of the songs performed that evening appear on the CD named after her. The duo’s debut disc is filled with jewels, including “Domain Domain,” with its lively rhythms, and “Bouba” featuring a trance-inducing melody. My favorite, “Gorgorlu,” is a traditional chant that exemplifies the deeply rooted meditative music passed down for centuries in the griot tradition. Cissoko sums up their cross-cultural fusion in the liner notes: “Volker and I are two musicians of the same generation with different sensibilities, who become one indivisible entity by speaking with our instruments.” Visit www.obliqsound.com.