Ballake Sissoko At Peace

Ballake Sissoko At Peace
9
Kora player Ballake Sissoko's Chamber Music was one of the most notable releases in world music in the last five years — "world music," as in a highly successful fusion of musical elements that actually explores new musical territory. In this case, the marriage of kora and cello in some interzone between Europe and Africa. At Peace is the follow-up and its title seems like an acceptance of Sissoko's internal musical drive, as well as implicit commentary on the current strife in Mali. Sissoko was never formally trained on the kora, which opens him up to incredible experiments in sound and technique. His ability to play sympathetically with other string instruments without outright mimicking them is amazing. Segal is back again, this time in the role of music director, creating the subtle production that was so successful on the previous album. Fuller tracks like "Badjourou" and the spare, live "N'tomikorobougou" have equal power, thanks to sensitive arrangements and playing. Through it all, one never mistakes the lead voice as anyone but Sissoko's. This is another masterpiece of deep listening. (Six Degrees)