Blog February 21, 2013
On Tour: Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal are hitting the road to tour their beautiful 2009 album, Chamber Music. Find dates all across the U.S. here. The duo bring their inventive blend of Malian Kora music and French contemporary and classical music to the French Institute Alliance Française's Florence Gould Hall Thursday, February 28th. Presented by The World Music Institute. 

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal recorded their critically acclaimed collaborative album, Chamber Music, in 2009 and have been touring together on and off since. The album is a beautiful, synergistic blend of the two radically different musicians' lives and heritages.

Vincent Segal has made his name by collaborating with a wide array of artists from many genres, including Elvis Costello, the late Cesaria Evora, and the French band Tryo. However, the cellist and bassist from Reims, France has an extensive background in classical European music, having studied at both the National Music Academy of Lyon and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. Furthermore, Segal has explored the worlds of electronica and trip-hop with Cryil Atef in their group, Bumcello.

Born to the noted Kora player Djelimady Sissoko, Ballaké Sissoko has been steeped in the Malian Kora tradition from birth. Having performed in the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali before recording the 1981 duet with Toumani Diabate that brought him to fame, Sissoko brings an almost unparalleled understanding of Malian Kora music to his collaborations with Segal.

Surprisingly, it is through their seemingly divergent backgrounds that these very different artists find the basis for their collaborations. The Kora music that Sissoko was raised on and later mastered is derived from the chamber music of the old Malian Empire. This music was commissioned by and written for the royalty of the empire, just as classical European compositions of the 17th and 18th century were. Furthermore, having grown up in the Pigalle district of Paris, an area heavily populated by African immigrants, Segal developed an ear uniquely qualified to accompany and enhance Sissoko’s style. The duo bring their remarkable collaboration to life at 8 pm this coming Thursday, February 28th at the French Institute Alliance Française’s Florence Gould Hall at 55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. Tickets at $30 / WMI Friends $25. Presented by The World Music Institute. Find a full listing of their U.S. concerts here.

Afropop Weigh in on Afropop's digital future and download an exclusive concert from the archives—free!