Mama Sissoko


Image of Mama Sissoko - Live
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A veteran of the great Malian orchestra, the Super Biton de Ségou, Mama Sissoko is an accomplished musician. His music traverses Mandingo, Bambara, Sarakolé, Songhai, Bobo, Peul, Malinke and Bozo traditions, all while flirting with jazz. On stage, Mama Sissoko is a purist who engages with the audience bringing his energy, urgent vocals and truly inspired guitar solos throughout the concert. ‘Live' brings together recordings from a concert given in Paris at La Villette in 1998 and takes us back to a high point in Mama Sissoko's career.

In ‘Live’, we find tracks from Mama Sissoko's second solo album 'Soleil de Minuit', which was released in 1999 by Buda Music. As on the album, the different guitars overlap without compromising the unity of the music, rendering an earthy atmosphere despite being very complex. The recording of this concert was superb. We can hear every note, every nuance, every instrument and voice in the many-layered compositions.

As on the album ‘Soleil de Minuit’, this live recording opens the session with ‘Diarabi’, followed by ‘Safiatou’. Both are up-tempo love songs in which Mama Sissoko's powerful voice sings with all of the passion that such love songs deserve over a clean rhythm driven by the percussion of several guitars. The heavy bassline of ‘Safiatou’ adds to the urgency of the song. After these two beautiful renditions, the energy continues with the guitar-driven ’Fisiriwale’ and then a surprisingly original version of Super Biton’s famous song, ‘Iri’. We are then treated to a lively version of his ‘Soleil de Minuit’, called out by the artist as a ‘salsa Africana’ with a shout out given to Cuban salsa mid-way through when he calls the song ‘El Sol de Medianoche’ in perfect Spanish.
Throughout this concert, Mama Sissoko’s deep and melodic voice seems to emanate effortlessly from his body and soul. Multiple guitars back up his signature solos adding depth to the music that harkens back to the traditional music of Mali. Perfect examples of this are given in the songs ‘Douga’, ‘Manssane’ and ‘Hommage a K’. The last song, before a rousing second version of ‘Soleil de Minuit’, is ‘Boma Ma’, a truly modern rendition of a traditional Malian hunters’ song with multiple guitars, shakers, lively djembe and an outstanding vocal duet with Toussaint Sainé, Mama Sissoko’s long time musical collaborator.

Accompanied by incredible musicians, including Toussaint Sainé, his partner in the Super Biton orchestra, "Live" plays in the timeless way of Malian music. What's more, it gives us the gift of its most direct and powerful dimension, that of live music, as if 20 years hadn't passed.


A1. Diarabi
A2. Safiatou
A3. Fisiriwale

B1. Iri
B2. Soleil De Minuit

C1. Douga
C2. Manssane

D1. Hommage à K.
D2. Boma Ma
D3. Soleil De Minuit Rappel

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