Sunday, January 23, 2011

CD Review: Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal

Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal
Chamber Music

Mali's kora player, Ballake Sissoko joins forces with France's cellist, Vincent Segal, for a candid, instrumental journey between two compatible instruments. The mood of Chamber Music is one of relaxation, peace, and contemplation. The instrumentation is primarily composed of kora and cello, but the balafon, ngoni, and bolon also make an appearance. The only vocal track is sung by Ivory Coast's Awa Sanagho, whose sound beckons the sincerity of Rokia Traore or the heartiness of Oumou Sangare. The absence of keyboards, guitars, and drums provides an intimate backdrop to the heart and soul of the music. For instance, the songs are tightly connected to strings, physically and figuratively, which tie the music together in a fun and interesting interplay. Furthermore, all of the songs are composed by Ballake or Vincent, which preserve the natural and creative integrity of the music without resulting in a slew of rehashed hits or cheap and easy songs. This is classy music for everyone! ~ Matthew Forss

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