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Devoutly contemporary kora-led four-piece
The players of the kora, the West African 21-stringed harp, have the weight of heritage and tradition bearing heavily down on their shoulders. But Ba Cissoko - the Guinean bandleader whose group bears his name - understands that tradition isn't a scripture carved into stone. It lives, it breathes and it needs to evolve. So Cissoko updates his brief to chime with our troubled times, his songs speaking of the most contemporary of issues. With a headful of dreadlocks, he's a thoroughly modern griot, one who - with a nod to Jimi Hendrix refreshing the blues - named his band's forward-facing 2006 record Electric Griot Land. Kora and balafon might lead the Ba Cissoko sound, but there's room for gently wah-wah'ed electric guitar and the occasional heavy dub bassline. Small wonder then that African A-listers are queuing up to collaborate with them, among them reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly, Somalian rapper K'naan and Amadou Bagayoko from Amadou & Mariam.
(Biography by Nige Tassell and photography by Marie Dagnaux)