Singer and songwriter, Zal Sissokho is also a great kora player. Originally from Senegal, he marvelously combines his openness to the world with his desire to preserve his culture and the oral traditions of the people of West Africa. He sings in Malinke and Wolof, is nourished by the encounters that mark his journey, thanks to which he continues to learn and share.
Arrived in Montreal in 1999, he performs solo and with many artists such as the Diouf brothers, Celso Machado, Constantinople, Fakhass Sico, Lilison di Kinara, Richard Séguin, Takadja and Muna Mingole.
In 2004, he formed the Afro-Mandingo group Buntalo, which finds the perfect balance between the modernity of their compositions and the classical Mandingo repertoire, thanks to the kora. Charismatic and enchanting, the kora blends wonderfully with contemporary Western music and the musician’s impressive improvisational skills, in a style he likes to call “tradimodern”.
The group released three albums on the Disque Nuits d’Afrique label (Silaba “La grande route” in 2008, Le Partage in 2012 and Le Palabre in 2017), which were very well received by both the public and the critics. Thanks to this project, Zal receives in 2008 the OQAJ-Rideau award, which opens the doors of the Mexican scene.
His latest album (released in 2020) Kora Flamenca is a poetic journey to discover the African roots of flamenco.
“Even if the two musics’ breathing patterns are different, the exchange flows naturally. The kora never runs behind the syncopated, sometimes frenetic, rhythms of flamenco and Zal Sissokho’s voice remains as cool and swaying as if he were singing Mandingo blues. A great beauty.” (La Presse, 2020).
It is with Derek Gripper that the griot of the kora will perform in the Prestige series, in the intimate room of the Gesu, during the 36th edition of the international festival Nuits d’Afrique.