Senegalese musician Diabel Cissokho is part of the great line of Cissokho griots. Growing up in Dakar, surrounded by a rich musical heritage and a family of musicians, Diabel began playing a number of traditional instruments. However, Diabel’s affinity with the kora was clear from an early age.
Diabel’s musical pedigree is exceptional. International tours with his family’s band Bannaya led to a long stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, as well as with acclaimed musicians such as Kandia Kouyate, Pee Wee Ellis, Nuru Kane, Daby Balde, Omar Pene and Abdou Diop. Now well established in the UK, Diabel’s virtuosic talent, his “resonant voice and rocking kora style” (Songlines), have been welcomed everywhere from WOMAD and Glastonbury to London’s Barbican, where he performed alongside Femi Kuti, Cheikh Lo and Manu Dibango.
Diabel’s success with bluesman Ramon Goose cemented his reputation as a versatile musician, able to effortlessly cross cultures. Their album Mansana Blues was lauded as “a flavoursome mix of slide guitar, mellow kora and undulating Mandinka rhythms” (fRoots)which “delivers moments of steamy pleasure” (Songlines).
A 2010 European tour culminated in the DNA Culture Project with Ramon, Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams, Gambian riti player Juldeh Camara and bassist Julian Joseph at Dakar’s renowned venue Just4You.
Diabel’s upcoming album marks a return to his roots. Recorded in the UK and Dakar and featuring members of his own family, the album draws on Diabel’s rich musical heritage,blending beautiful Mandinkan melodies with an upbeat West African groove.
Label: World Village UK
Distribution in France: Harmonia Mundi
Release date: April 16, 2012
The music on this album represents what was so moving about that visit. The Cissokho family have the benefit of a deep culture that goes back to the Middle ages where music occupies a central, life affirming position in society, along with a 21st century youthful dynamism that defies the world to ignore them. Groove, melody and soul, and those voices hitting you like an Atlantic wave, it’s irresistible.”
Justin Adams, 2012