Diali Cissokho & Austin McCall

A renowned korist and percussionist from Senegal, Diali Cissokho moved to the US after years of performing and teaching in Senegal and in Europe. Born into a rich ancestry of Manding griots (the musician caste), Diali has been playing traditional West African music for as long as he can remember. While his greatest love is the kora, a 21-stringed African harp that is at the heart and soul of much West African music, he is also a passionate singer, songwriter, and percussionist. Crossing cultural boundaries with a wide range of sounds, from explosive dance rhythms to soothing hypnotic grooves, Diali brings an unparalleled virtuosity and unique personal style to this respected traditional art form.

Diali’s mother, MoussuKeba Diebate, and father, Ibrahima Cissokho, both hailed from long lines of griot musicians. Historically, each village had its own griot who told tales of births, deaths, marriages, battles, hunts, affairs, and other important events and celebrations. In Mande society the griot, or jeli, served as a historian, advisor, praise singer, and storyteller. These musicians served as walking history books, preserving and sharing the stories and traditions of their culture through song. This inherited tradition, with deep connections to spiritual, social, and political powers, has been passed down through generations.

Austin McCall grew up in Saxapahaw listening to and playing blues, Afro-Cuban, jazz, and West African style musics. He has studied various styles of drum set and percussion with the influential teachings of Frank Worrell, Mama Kone, and the World. His love for music has brought him to some of the most intense places he’s ever been spiritually and physically.

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