Artist of the month: Lamine Cissokho
The artist of the month is the musician Lamine Cissokho from Sweden. Lamine plays the Kora, a West African stringed instrument with 22 strings. We have asked Lamine a few questions.
Present and tell about yourself and your act. Who are you?
My name is Lamine Cissokho, a Senegalese who has lived in Sweden for a long time. I come from a family of musicians; I learned my instrument, the Kora, from my father when I was a child, and our musical traditions have been passed down from father to son since the 14th century. I tour Europe as a soloist or in duo or trio constellations. My compositions are inspired by Mandingo music and are largely influenced by oriental music and jazz.
Briefly describe your journey as an act
My career to date has taken me to a large number of countries, about 15 festivals, and lots of venues. I like to play solo but I also like to collaborate and mix different genres. I have collaborated with an Indian musician, a French jazz pianist, and a Guinean singer. I have also had the chance to play with some very big names, including the American Eric Bibb. I have recorded 6 albums, organized a kora festival in Senegal, and many other projects around music.
Who are you inspired by?
My inspirations are multiple. The traditional Mandingo songs I learned from my father and the many collaborations I have had with international musicians of different genres.
Has one of your concerts been especially memorable, and why?
One of my best concerts, and the best memory, was at the Marciac international festival in France where I accompanied the great Eric Bibb. I also remember a concert at the international guitar festival in Aarhus where I played in a duo with Ballake Sissoko –
Why? For the honor of playing with two masters, in front of a great audience and in extraordinary places
What is your career setup? Do you have a manager, a booker, a mentor or do you do everything yourself?
I’m an independent musician at the moment. It is mainly my wife and I, who work on the development of my career, bookings, communication, production of my albums, etc. I’m looking to join a bigger booker’s rooster but it’s not so easy.
What is special about playing a Low-Fi concert as opposed to a “regular” concert?
I like to play big festivals but I also like intimate gigs like Low-Fi allows. Playing and seeing your audience, feeling the energy of that audience gives a lot back. After the concert, I like to talk with the audience about my musical traditions and my instrument, which often intrigues them.
For me the most important thing is to satisfy the people who listen to me, to bring them a moment of joy and make them “travel”. I find that Low-Fi concerts allow this. To travel by attending a concert in the living room. isn’t that wonderful?
Do you have any tips and advice for other Low-Fi artists?
Not really, except for the following: Always give the best of your art. Both in front of a 3,000-person auditorium and in a small and cozy dining room.