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Mama Sissoko

Mama Sissoko

Mama Sissoko


Ancient guitar solo player of the Super Biton of Segou, Mama Sissoko managed to conserve the secrets of Malian guitar whether in traditional songs inherited from the griots or in original compositions. His limpid instrumental play accompanies wonderfully his soulful voice. He’s from those who discourage the certainties sowers and the stickers’ putters. Only one irrefutable premise: Mama Sissoko is one of the artists whose musical pulsation confirms the feverous tempo of an agitated continent. Read more on Last.fm
Ancient guitar solo player of the Super Biton of Segou, Mama Sissoko managed to conserve the secrets of Malian guitar whether in traditional songs inherited from the griots or in original compositions. His limpid instrumental play accompanies wonderfully his soulful voice. He’s from those who discourage the certainties sowers and the stickers’ putters. Only one irrefutable premise: Mama Sissoko is one of the artists whose musical pulsation confirms the feverous tempo of an agitated continent. He’s a great of Africa.

His talent of singer, of guitar player and of author-composer are as huge as his discography is reduced. He’s not from the people who lay an album every five minutes. He’s from those who think about it during months, even during years. Only two tapes and one CD of him are available since 91! We can say that the second album "Soleil de Minuit" (midnight sun) has been awaited; it coincided with the eve of year 2000.

An acoustic jewel as we can hear it in "son cubano" of Compay Segundo or the Troubadours of Santiago, an urbanity master-piece, in which the guitar is the companion of the reveller mood of the African cities. But before the album, Mama Sissoko had a long and sinuous route. Let’s then begin by the roots: Mama was born (French) in Nioro of the Sahel in 1949. Eleven years later, he becomes a Malian citizen because of the decolonisation. He started learning music at a young age with his father, a famous musician and griot that was an ace of the N’goni.

Mama began by accompanying his father with drums then changed for guitar. He was fascinated by Kar kar (Boubacar Traoré), a national hero of guitar. He invested his school maintenance allowances in an acoustic guitar and managed to convince the mayor of his natal city to invest in an electric one. But the real ferment of his music was the army’s musical equipment. He spent six years playing with the National Orchestra of Bamako, making tours in and out of Mali, they even went in Libya. In 1974, he joined the band “Le Super Biton de Segou”, as singer and soloist.

The band toured Europe and Africa for over 10 years. They played in France, in places such as Angoulême (festival Musiques Métisses) and Paris (Palais des Glaces, Casino de Paris). In the late 80s Mama Sissoko performed his first dates as a solo artist. He recorded “Narena”, the first cassette in his name, in 1991. In 1988, he formed his band the Ton Jon of Segou and made a solo career three years after, sharing his life between his natal Mali and Paris. He played on different stages without fear; he wonderfully made the first part of BB King at the jazz festival of La Villette, and had a huge success at the Chapelle des Lombards especially when he invited the Brazilian female singer Teca Calazans of the "Nordeste" to make a duet for the release of his first CD "Jarabi". This first CD, was released in 1997: the multiple Bobo, Bambara, Sarakole, Fulani, Songhai and Mandingo rhythms make up the traditional thread on which Mama Sissoko builds up arrangements and compositions much influenced by blues and jazz. Then came the second album called “Soleil de Minuit" and dedicated to his late sister Nassima.

It was realised like the preceding one by his accomplice Michel Zacha and most of the musicians were Malians. This second opus is characterised by Latin exuberance and the melancholy of griots, with voluble, bewitching solos. On steep, dancing beats, with his virtuoso guitar and his dark, slightly veiled voice, Mama Sissoko leads his band (guitars, bass and drums) to where Latin serenades meet with Mandingo melodies. The “African salsa” title song features the Panama singer Azuquita, while Toumani Diakité plays the donzo n’goni on a piece about the secret rites of hunters. The panama singer of Paris let his voice dance on the magic solo Malian chords of Mama.

From fable (about ungrateful and shrub) to spell (casted to the leader of the village), from love stories (hidden in the woods) to saraband (dressing Romeo and Juliet in brilliant boubou), from odes (to the master of music from Guinea) to loudmouthness (speaking of the immigrants without proper identity or working papers), Mama gave total liberty to his moods. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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