Mama Sissoko

Mama Sissoko

Soleil de Minuit


The train that has been built by the music of Mali just won’t stop rolling. Almost a decade ago, Ali Farka Toure sounded the first whistle, and now America is all ears to the soulful sounds of this West African nation. With fine, subtle melodies and masterful guitar work somewhat reminiscent of our blues, artists such as Toure, Habib Koite, and Amadou et Miriam have captivated our ears.

Still travelling voraciously through Mali’s compartments, we are now introduced to Mama Sissoko. Soleil de Minuit is a calm, beautiful ululation of guitars and warm breezes with Sissoko’s plaintive voice tugging at your heartstrings throughout. Mama, who comes from a long line of griots, has a gentle touch and deep respect that emanates from the disc. For every song he writes, Sissoko travels from France back to Mali to find the exact village and elder from which the particular song or melody came to ask permission for its use. Once he receives it, then he starts working on the tune. The deep reverence shows. But, donÃt worry, Soleil de Minuit is not some kind of funeral dirge. This is a great display of Afro-Pop entertainment and a fantastic example of why the Mali train keeps rolling (especially with the Mali-Cuban title track and “Safiatou”). Let’s just hope the caboose is nowhere in sight.

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