Diabel Cissokho & Band

Diabel Cissokho & Band

 London, England, GBR
BandWorld

London-based singer, songwriter, kora player, multi-instrumentalist, Diabel Cissokho is a creative musical dynamo. With a soulful sound of mesmeric Manding melodies, from Senegal and Mali, his original songs express his thoughts on life.

Biography

Biography

Diabel Cissokho
Senegalese musician Diabel Cissokho is part of the great line of Cissokho griots. Diabel’s family are celebrated in Senegal, and are well known for supporting many of the countries top musicians spanning many musical genres including traditional West African, Mbalax, Rap, Tassou and Yella music. Some of the artists they have supported and toured with include Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal and Omar Pene and his family band, Bannaya, have themselves toured internationally in their own right.
Originating from Mali, the family has over one hundred generations of griots where their music, history and traditions have been passed on from father to son, as is the tradition of griot families.
Diabel was born in Tambacounda, a quiet region in Senegal close to the Mali/Senegal border. He then grew up in Dakar, the bustling capital city of Senegal. This experience of different regions exposed Diabel to different languages, cultures, ethnic groups and the different music of these ethnic groups. This combined with Diabel’s rich musical heritage has helped him to create a truly unique musical style and sound.
Surrounded by a large family of musicians, Diabel began playing a number of traditional instruments from a young age, however his affinity with the kora was clear. Diabel’s musical pedigree is exceptional. International tours with his family’s band Bannaya led to a long stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, who he played with for almost four years, touring internationally and recording on the album ‘Sangoul (2002)’. He has also toured and recorded with acclaimed musicians such as Kandia Kouyate, Pee Wee Ellis, Nuru Kane, Daby Balde, Omar Pene and Abdou Diop, ‘Album: Ayenobbe (1999)’.Now well established in the UK, Diabel’s virtuosic talent, his “resonant voice and rocking kora style” (Songlines), have been welcomed everywhere from WOMAD and Glastonbury to London’s Barbican, where he performed alongside Femi Kuti, Cheikh Lo and Manu Dibango.
In 2010 Diabel collaborated with blues guitarist Ramon Goose to release the African blues album, ‘Mansana Blues’ on the Dixifrog label, which they toured across Europe. This cemented his reputation as a versatile musician, able to effortlessly cross cultures.
Mansana Blues was lauded as “a flavoursome mix of slide guitar, mellow kora and undulating Mandinka rhythms” (fRoots) which “delivers moments of steamy pleasure” (Songlines). The album was also on the short list of Best Blues Albums for the Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll (December 2011 issue Number 12).
A 2010 African tour culminated in the DNA Culture Project with Ramon, Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams, Gambian riti player Juldeh Camara and pianist Julian Joseph at Dakar’s renowned venue Just4You. DNA Culture project involved Diabel’s family and was a platform for musicians to learn from each other by looking at each others cultures, ways of learning and performing.
Recently, Diabel was a guest artist for Africa Express Sound System, a collaboration between established musicians, vocalists and rappers including Fatoumata Diawarra and Baloji. They were nominated for ‘Best Headline Act’ by the UK festival awards in 2011 following their headline set at Standon Calling festival. They said, ‘Diabel Cissokho surprised us with his beautiful voice and haunting Senegalese melodies’.
Diabel’s new album ‘Kanabory Siyama’ marks a return to his roots. Recorded in the UK and Dakar and featuring members of his family and musicians from Senegal, Mali, Morocco, France and the UK, the album draws on Diabel’s rich musical heritage, blending beautiful Mandinkan melodies with an upbeat West African groove. For Diabel, he has always felt that his music must have important, strong and educational messages that can help anyone in the world, and show them a good path to follow in their lives.
For Diabel, this album is a way for him to talk to world, and talk about what is happening all around us, and to encourage people to be themselves, and to help others.

Discography

Diabel Cissokho - 'Kanabory Siyama' (LP 2012, World Village/harmonia mundi)

Diabel Cissokho & Ramon Goose - 'Mansana Blues' (LP 2010, Dixiefrog records)

Da Lata ft. Diabel Cissokho - 'This is not my job' (single, 2008, Papa records)

Set List

Selection of tracks from the latest album, 'Kanabory Siyama'