Mali, 2021, Mande music
Ballaké Sissoko – Djourou: “String”. That’s what the single word of this album’s title means. Sissoko’s kora, a 21-string West African harp, evokes that which is equally mysterious and familiar to anyone already acquainted with the master harpist’s skill: a woven tapestry of music of incredibly complex themes when it stands alone and of open, inviting motifs allowing for some wonderful collaboration, from whispery pop to (and I know this is going to sound weird, but it works!) rap. Sissoko shares his music with such a disparate group of musicians, and the result is an album shared with a disparate world of listeners. Meditative, sublime.