Review | Songlines

Jardins Migrateurs

Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko


Ma Case


Ablaye Cissoko is a kora-playing Senegalese griot who has been invited to accompany the celebrated Montréal-based Iranian trio Constantinople. Kiya Tabassian leads Constantinople with a voice that simultaneously soothes and sends pleasurable shivers up the spine. His instrument is the setar, a plucked lute with four strings. Accompanying him is hand percussion and viola de gamba (a form of plucked and bowed cello), which provides a bass line.

The repertoire on this disc mixes compositions and adaptations created by Cissoko and by Tabassian, who are steeped in Mande tradition and Persian poetry respectively. It is a seamless and harmonious meeting of the two cultures. The kora and setar sit perfectly well together, each played with great virtuosity and without unnecessary ostentation. The alternating voices are a breath of fresh air and contrast beautifully: Cissoko mellow and Tabassian spiritual. A disc of regal and dignified magnificence.

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