A follow up to their previous album, Sira, this new album by German trumpet player and kora virtuoso Ablaye Cissoko prove that the kora is an instrument that can truly go with anything. The title Amanké Dionti means “She is Not Your Slave”. This refers to young women coming from impoverished villages to work for wealthier families in the cities, but rather than being provided by gainful employment and decent treatment, they are often unpaid, held hostage, and treated like slaves (sadly, this is also the case in India, Mauretania, Northern Thailand, and many other countries). Griots normally tell stories, relate history, and sing praise songs. Cissoko tackles social concerns outside of this traditional role, something griots are not reall supposed to do.
Goetze’s muted trumpet provides beautiful musical synergy to Cissokos singing and kora playing. Together they have toured many countries and enchanted thousands of listeners. They were in LA this past fall for the World Festival of Sacred Music as well as other U.S. cities. This new album will surely expand their audience.
Check out the video from a film that is being made about the pair, based on the song, “Haiti” from the new album. It pulls together the historical connections between Senegal, Gorée Island (the island where slaves were processed and shipped out to the new world), Haiti, Brazil, and Cuba. It is very moving.