Tiécoro Sissoko
Keme Borama
Kanaga System Krush
★★★

Picture this if you will. Say just out of the blue, the federal government makes music illegal. It becomes illegal to play and illegal to publicly listen. Some may welcome that decision in hopes they never hear another Drake, Rihanna or Katy Perry song ever again, but I would hope most if not all people would find a ban like this to be rather shocking.

This is what has happened in Mali. Islamic militants have issued a ban on all music. Because of this imposition, there has been a backlash of opposition from musicians around the world to campaigning for the culture and music of Mali.

The music of Tiécoro Sissoko is graceful and magical at the same time. His West African Djeli voice spins tales of freedom and tradition with grace. Born in Kenieba, in the Kayes Region of Mali, it was not until he moved to Bamako in the late ‘60s when he bought his first guitar. I would wager that guitar was a catalyst of magic with sincerity and a feeling a prosperity.

Tiécoro Sissoko

How can you listen to this music and not feel something. You may not understand a word, but with Sissoko, you will fully understand his emotion and passion. The guitar is his livelihood and it really comes out in Keme Borama. Growing up amongst a family of musicians, it must have been a tough climate to excel to the perfection of his parents. But he did just that.

Unfortunately, Sissoko passed away in May 2012 before this album saw the light of day. Thanks to Kanaga System Krush, the fair-trade label has done this album much justice, as well as the purity of Mali music despite the people who want nothing better than to extinguish culture.

It’s a shame it has to be this way, but because of it, this album shins that much brighter. I cannot recommend it enough.

Categories: Reviews

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