Performer's presentation at the 2020 NC Folk Festival Virtual Concert Series is sponsored by:
Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba
Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba ecstatically explore the spiritual songs, stories, and rhythms of Senegal’s millenia-old Mandé culture. Indeed, Cissokho comes from a long line of prominent griots who are entrusted to maintain a West African village’s genealogies and important ceremonial affairs through song. But he is much more than a preservationist. Cissokho and his band, Kaira Ba, effortlessly integrate the traditional sounds of the kora with a modern rush of electric guitar and an exuberant rhythm section. Together, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba sustain one of West Africa’s most expressive legacies with their own energetic interpretations.
The band formed in North Carolina in January of 2011, shortly after Cissokho’s immigration to the US. Kaira Ba has produced three full length albums, toured extensively in the US, and traveled twice as a band to Senegal. In 2014, Kaira Ba was nominated for the prestigious continent-wide All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA) in the category “Best African Group” for their album The Great Peace . In 2018 the band released its most ambitious album to date, Routes, which was recorded alongside a broad cast of guests in both North Carolina and Senegal. The album was met with critical acclaim upon its releases, being favorably reviewed by Afropop Worldwide, The Financial Times, OkayAfrica, the famed rock critic Robert Christgau for Noisey/Vice, and Songlines who wrote, “This album is up there with the groundbreaking recordings of Thione Seck, Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour.” Kaira Ba has performed and taught at Universities, appeared in front of large festival audiences and shared stages with some of Africa’s most prominent international artists. In all its work, Kaira Ba is committed to sharing its story and music in the name of cross-cultural learning, believing that music has the power to transgress borders and serve as an important resource for education, restoration and healing.