MAIN STAGE – Saturday 15th July
Senegalese musician Diabel Cissokho is part of the great line of Cissokho griots. Growing up in Dakar and Tambacounda, surrounded by a rich musical heritage and a family of musicians, Diabel began playing a number of traditional instruments. His affinity with the kora became clear from an early age.
Diabel’s musical pedigree is exceptional. International tours with his family’s band Bannaya led toa long stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, as well as with acclaimed musicians such as Kandia Kouyate, Pee Wee Ellis, Omar Pene, Cheikh Lo, Ernest Ranglin and Youssou N’Dour. 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, and more recently in the Queen Elizabeth Hall London with his band.
Lately Diabel has been busy recording & releasing his brand new album ‘Tambacounda Express’, an extraordinary record that draws on the eclectic mix of cultures that pass through the region where Diabel was born, Tambacounda in Senegal. With influences from Senegal, Mali, to Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Morocco, the result is a rhythmically, lyrically and melodically diverse collection of songs with strong roots in the blues, alongside the traditional Mandinkan melodies of his griot ancestry.
Diabel has recently been nominated as the Best Artist of the Year in the 2017 Songlines Magazine Awards.