19 November 2012 (released)
16 November 2012
Two huge talents meet at a festival, strike up a friendship and spend the evening jamming together – result; a stunning album that combines Kora and Guinean rhythms with beatbox and New York rap. If you had asked me beforehand if I fancied a taste of this I would probably have pointed out that I don’t smoke that stuff anymore. Now? Instant addiction!
Joe Driscoll is a human playing machine and seems capable of turning his hand and voice to anything while Sekou Koyate is a Guinean and part of Ba Cissoko along with Ba Cissoko himself, Ibrahima Bab (percussion) and Kourou Kouyate (Sekou’s brother). Kouyate himself plays the Kora and the light sound of this traditional African harp is brilliantly matched to the furious Afrobeat/Rap crossover happening all around.
Kouyate’s vocals are a delight, mainly sungf in French and with less harshness than Driscoll’s but Driscoll also manages to make some serious music on tracks like ‘New York’ – his paean to his hometown.
‘Birnakely’ is a favourite already with a strong bass line and fuzzed guitar solo and ‘Zion’ as well for exactly opposite reasons – light and uplifting with a wondrous Kora solo.
There are moments when your jaw will drop in amazement at the quality of the playing on the album and it has to be said that this is one of those albums that prove that music can be made with a smile on the face.
That these guys are not among the top artists on the World music scene is nothing less than criminal and hopefully this will show that the mix of cultures can bring out the talents and raise their stature to where it ought to be.