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Country Senegal Sweden Genres band jazz roots traditional Website www.sousoumaher.com Festival Sauti za Busara 2011, 2013 Recordings
Adouna (2008); Stockholm - Dakar (2011)
Expressive singing and rhythmically rocking music define this unique and charismatic duo. Together with their groovy Adouna Band they line up well-known artists from Senegal and Sweden on kora, guitar, percussion and bass, combining influences from reggae, mbalax, pop, folk, soul and blues. The combination of their rhythmic energy and intimate vocals makes their music unforgettable. Their original music style has made Sousou and Maher Cissoko a well-known duo on many different stages in Scandinavia, at everything from world music to large pop festivals.
Since the release of their albums Adouna (2008) and Stockholm-Dakar (2011) they have toured in Scandinavia, South Korea, Senegal, Mali, Tanzania and South Africa, performing at events such as the Peace & Love Festival, Gwanju World Music Festival, Sauti za Busara, Festival Sur Le Niger, and have been supporting big-name artists including Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate and Amadou & Mariam. They have performed several times in Swedish and Senegalese National Television and Radio.
It was when Sousou was invited by the BBC Music Award winner Solo Cissokho to spend time with his family in Ziguinchor to learn their style of kora playing that she met Maher. “You just take the taxi to Ziguinchor and ask the driver where I live and you will find my home,” Solo said, and that’s exactly what Sousou did a few months later. When she arrived in Ziguinchor, Solo was not there but the rest of the family was and among them Maher Cissoko. Now, years later, they are married and have a small daughter.
Maher Cissoko was born into a legendary griot family in Casamance, Senegal, that has seen the art of kora playing being passed from generation to generation through more than 700 years. Maher has embellished this tradition and developed his own explosive and danceable style.
Sousou Cissoko, a singer from Sweden is one of few female kora players in the world. She fell in love with the kora at an early age and travelled to The Gambia aged only 19 to study the West African Mandinka traditions. Since then she has travelled many times in West Africa to study kora, singing and guitar.
The foundation in the kora musical tradition is to constantly renew and find your own way, and that’s literally what Sousou & Maher are doing. In 2011 they drove all the way from Stockholm to Dakar, a trip that became the inspiration for new songs and the ability to see connections where others see boundaries.
”Stockholm – Dakar; Sweden – Senegal: Two different cities, countries, continents and homes. In our constant travels we have come to the understanding that we do not move in between, but within. It is not a meeting or a union of two worlds or cultures but a musical voyage within the same sphere of people, rhythms and movements. And from there we find smiles and stories and compose songs and lyrics that we want to share.” (Sousou & Maher Cissoko)
Sousou & Maher have been nominated for several recognition music awards, including Newcomer of the Year 2010, Band of the Year Nominee 2011 and Album of the Year Nominee 2012 in Sweden’s World Music Awards. For their achievements they have also been awarded City of Stockholm’s Cultural Grants and been supported by the Swedish Arts Council.
With thanks to Swedish Arts Council