& Vincent Segal
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& Vincent Segal
Chamber Music is a collaboration between Ballake Sissoko, who plays the traditional kora, a lute-harp from Mali, and Vincent Segal, the French cellist who plays for the trip-hop band Bumcello. At a time when cross-cultural music has tended toward highly-caffeinated electric pop and dance music, Sissoko and Segal remind us that there is room and maybe even a need for something quieter, some thing more refined.
"At times playing in unison, more often in counterpoint to one another, the two sets of strings create complex rhythmic patterns that are sometimes hypnotic, elsewhere energizing, and always engaging." - PopMatters
Both musicians have displayed an aptitude for defying expectations the list of trip-hop cellists is pretty short, after all. And Ballake Sissoko has become a familiar name on the world music scene through his work with American blues legend Taj Mahal and Italian minimalist Ludovico Einaudi, among others. But perhaps the combination of kora and cello works so well because there are no expectations for it. The collaboration grew out of a personal friendship, and at no point was there an attempt to produce a project that would be slick, hip and commercial.
The cello, of course, is not a traditional African instrument. But Chamber Music, in its depth of feeling and variety of moods, is authentically African. The kora may not appear in the duos, trios, or quartets of Beethoven, Schumann, or Brahms; but the obvious musical and personal connection between Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal also marks this as an organic, authentic, if original, type of chamber music.
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