Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal are Malian and French artists respectively who are signed to Six Degrees Records. In 2009, upon the release of their debut collaborative album, Chamber Music, they began to rise in international popularity and acclaim, resulting in their first United States tour in 2011. Since then they’ve worked on music, releasing their second album, Musique de Nuit, in 2015, but have not returned stateside for a tour. That is until 2017, when the duo announced their United States return that kicks off on Oct. 22. Moreover, to get us ready for what is in store, the two are premiering new music with us at Afropop, an excerpt of the song “Tuniale.” “Tuniale,” meaning “truth” in Bambara,” was first heard by Sissoko and Segal in 2014, played by Kassé Mady Diabaté, a renowned Malian singer and instrumentalist. They were so taken by the song that they had decided to work on their own version, and will be performing it live when their tour begins. This preview, an outtake from their Musique de Nuitsession in Bamako, the capital of Mali, is a short but captivating piece of what is to come from Ballake and Vincent, building excitement for their first tour in six years here in the United States.
The first thing that catches your attention when listening to “Tuniale” is the beautiful arrangement of string instruments. Sissoko’s bouncy, mesmerizing strumming of the kora on this song provides a hypnotic and peaceful melody for the track. Accompanying this is Segal’s exemplary cello work: a smooth and deliberate harmonic wave that creates a foundation for Ballake’s playing to weave its way through in perfect synchronicity. The cut is a simple yet effective piece of music. A demonstration of the subtle minimalism to which Mande music can stake claim, “Tuniale” lets the playing speak for itself, and what it ends up saying is that it is a product of an arduous, passionate collaboration between two of modern music’s most esteemed instrumentalists.
Since the late 2000s when the group began to gain traction in the United States, they’ve received nothing short of immense praise from a variety of outlets. Bob Boilen of NPR has described their work as “The most beautiful world music record of the decade…”, and their tours have gained great praise as well. This preview of “Tuniale” is keeping our interest in Ballake and Vincent’s upcoming work and tour piqued. We think you’ll enjoy it too!
Find out when Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal’s tour dates here.