Words by Daniel Brown
Another majestic meeting of string-instrument masters
Two musicians operating at the height of their talent, Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal have mastered string instruments worlds apart yet find common ground thanks to a generosity of spirit rarely encountered. They have been intertwining the subtleties of their bass and kora for six years now and they continue to surprise us with their freshness and subtle interplay.
The first four tracks here were recorded on Ballaké’s rooftop in the depths of the night, surrounded by the sweet sounds of Bamako’s city life and the noises of traffic and sheep. The remaining five compositions were recorded in Mali’s famous Bogolan studios and include a memorable exchange with the album’s only guest, griot singer Babani Koné. There are moving homages to Youssou N’Dour’s Super Étoile and the eerie atmosphere of a Brazilian village is conjured up in ‘Samba Tomora’.
Ballaké also reminds listeners of the tragic beauty of northern Mali, a desert nourished for centuries by lush music. Musique de Nuit was recorded just days after the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, in the midst of ongoing turbulence in Mali. It proves yet again the ability of music to assuage and heal in times of trouble.
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