Globalnoize's Blog

A Big Week for Ballaké!
February 7, 2013, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Six Degrees Artist | Tags: , ,


This week saw the North and South American release (2/5) of Ballaké Sissoko’s new album, “At Peace”. Sissoko’s follow-up to his 2009 collaboration with French cellist Vincent Segal, Chamber Music, is currently featured and streaming on NPR’s First Listen (2/4-2/10).

At Peace comes at one of the darkest points in the contemporary history of Sissoko’s home country. A March 2012 coup d’état plunged Mali’s stable democracy into a state of political turmoil resulting in devastating consequences across all spectrums of society. Religious extremists in the north declared war on music altogether, outlawing everything from recordings and instruments to any sort of playing. Musicians in northern parts of the country have been forced into exile. Music, though, has for this country of 15 million proven an especially defining aspect of identity formation. (Within the Six Degrees family three artists hail from this West African heartland of musical wealth- Ballaké Sissoko, Vieux Farka Touré, Issa Bagayogo) The current political situation’s most negative of grips on Mali’s rich musical tradition, a cornerstone of Mali’s cultural history, comes as a particularly devastating consequence. It is in this trying-times context that Sissoko’s latest album emerged. Reviews on “At Peace” have notably discussed the album’s bigger-than-the-music significance.  Said NPR in their First Listen article, “At peace? Sadly, that’s still a dream in Mali, but without a doubt this powerful, beautiful album will bring listeners no small respite.” In the context of a society with a longstanding music tradition under attack, Sissoko’s latest album is being hailed as a kora-soundtracked victory for peace.

NPR First Listen:


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