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Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba features Senegalese griot Diali Keba Cissokho—a vocalist, percussionist, dancer, and master of the kora (a 21-string African harp). Diali hails from a famed lineage of musicians and storytellers traceable to the 14th century in his native West Africa. The band is rounded out by four outstanding North Carolina-raised musicians, each bringing their own musical influences to bear.
Tradition meets modernity in this band; African music embraces its American offspring, jazz and blues, and the result is a fresh and exhilarating musical experience. Irresistible dance grooves, captivating performances, fiery percussion, and super-tight arrangements communicate unforgettable joy and passion—and bring audiences into the “great love and harmony” that the band’s name signifies.
Kaira Ba's distinctive sound is reminiscent of the great West African dance bands - bursting with unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos and polyrhythmic frameworks. With lyrics in Manding, Wolof, and English, Diali Cissokho immerses the audience in stories of ancient and modern West Africa, parables that bring into focus the need for cooperation and interdependence among all people of the world.
Influences include Sidiki Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyate, Toubab Krewe, Oumou Sangaré and Ali Farka Touré. Kairaba! invokes the participation of the audience in the creation of captivating musical moments that often incite spontaneous dancing by the performers and audiences alike, helping to create a peaceful and loving community.
About the Griot Tradition: In Mande society the griot, or jeli, served as a historian, advisor, praise singer, and storyteller. These musicians served as walking libraries, preserving and sharing the stories and traditions of their culture through song. This inherited tradition, with its deep connections to spiritual, social, and political powers, has been passed down through generations since the 14th century. Diali’s mother, MoussuKeba Diebate, and his father, Ibrahima Cissokho, both hailed from long and celebrated lines of griots. Historically, each village had their own griot who told tales of births, deaths, marriages, battles, hunts, affairs, and other important events and celebrations.