Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal - Chamber Music

Posted By MiOd On Friday, April 25, 2014 Under

Chamber Music is a collaboration between Ballake Sissoko, who plays the traditional kora, a lute-harp from Mali, and Vincent Segal, the French cellist who plays for the trip-hop band Bumcello. It is also, quite simply, one of the most elegant and beautiful recordings of world music in recent years. At a time when cross-cultural music has tended toward highly-caffeinated electric pop and dance music, Sissoke and Segal remind us that there is room and maybe even a need for a quieter, more refined world music. Both musicians have displayed an aptitude for defying expectations the list of trip-hop cellists is pretty short, after all. And Ballake Sissoko has become a familiar name on the world music scene through his work with American blues legend Taj Mahal and Italian minimalist Ludovico Einaudi, among others. But perhaps the combination of kora and cello works so well because there are no expectations for it. The collaboration grew out of a personal friendship, and at no point was there an attempt to produce a record that would be slick and hip and commercial. Yet it has become one of Europe's most buzzed-about worldmusic recordings in the past year. Chamber Music was recorded in the Moffou Studio, founded by the great Malian singer Salif Keita to provide a world-class environment for musicians wishing to record acoustic, perhaps even authentic,African music. (Keita's own acoustic album, Moffou, was recorded there.) The cello, of course, is not a traditional African instrument. But Chamber Music, in its depth of feeling and variety of moods, is authentically African. The kora may not appear in the duos, trios, or quartets of Beethoven, Schumann, or Brahms; but the obvious musical and personal connection between Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal also marks this as an authentic, if original, type of chamber music.

This collaboration speaks volumes about how artists can find common ground from separate cultures and the world can benefit. This work draws exclusively from the African compositions but the cello is presented in a way that is both totally consistent with the African melodies yet with its own voice. For example, in Mako Mady the two instruments complement each other in notation and tonal qualities. They and the performers all just seem perfectly matched. Other cuts make for more disparate interaction, but still complementing each other perfectly. And the performers play as though they had been together for years, certainly a tribute to their own musical insights and skills. This may simply be the most appealing "fusion" music undertaking in the last decade, whether in "world" music or elsewhere. One can only hope that these marvelously sensitive artists continue their collaboration.

1. Chamber Music
2. Oscarine
3. Houdesti
4. Wo Yé N'gnougobine
5. Histoire de Molly
6. "Ma-Ma" FC
7. Regret - à Kader Barry
8. Halinkata Djoubé
9. Future
10. Mako Mady

Flac (EAC Rip): 290 MB | MP3 - 320 kbs: 130 MB | Scans

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