Tassoumakan - Issa Bagayogo

Six Degrees

- A remarkable thing happened recently while conducting an interview at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. As my guest and I conversed while seated on the edge of the stage, the opening act came out to sound check. He positioned his kora (an exquisite and ancient African harp) near the microphone and plucked a few notes only to stop suddenly and take an incoming call. The image is something that could only materialize in the 21st century, a person holding a kora in one hand and a cell phone in the other. That performer could have well been Issa Bagayogo or 'Techno Issa' as he's known to his Malian musical friends. His instrument is the 6 string n'goni similar in form and timbre to the kora with far fewer strings. Many global artists have attempted to broach the traditional and the technological but few as seamlessly as Issa. As a follow up to 'Timbuktu', his ear opening debut release on Six Degrees, Issa presents "Tassoumakan' which means 'Voice Of Fire'. It's a wonderful study in contrasts: organic and electronic, chilled and engaging, blues and beats. No one element of Issa's music appears imposed upon the other. All the compelling sounds symmetrically orbit in harmony around timeless melodies and chants