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About Ablaye Cissoko:

Kimintang Mahamadou Cissoko, a.k.a. Ablaye Cissoko, was born in Kolda (Senegal) into a Griot family. He made his first appearance on stage with his kora at the age of 12, before he entering the conservatory of music in Dakar. Now based in Saint-Louis, he is an eternal traveller, part of a new generation of artists who incarnates the crossover between Mandinka traditions and contemporary musical creation. Since 2002, he has been performing around the world, from Africa to Europe, from Europe to America, collaborating with such internationally renowned world music and jazz artists as Randy Weston, François Jeanneau, Majid Bekkas, Richard Galliano, Benat Achiary, Volker Goetze and La Chimera ensemble directed by Eduardo Egüez.

His second solo disc, Mes Racines, with balafon, peul flute and bass players, was released in April 2013. With delicacy, grace and intelligence, Ablaye Cissoko passes on the traditional values of his culture, offering a sincere song of love and respect. His kora and vocal recital is an amazing display of musical genius and generosity. This first project with Constantinople ensemble promises to lead them to return to the source, to recognize each other as part of a same community: this awareness of belonging to several space-times is as basic to them as respiration, as inspiration.

Jardins migrateurs/Itinerant Gardens


Everyone: FREE
Sunday, August 11
Toronto Music Garden
479 Queens Quay West

Montreal’s Constantinople Ensemble presents a poetic encounter between strings and voice, from the epics of the Mandingo Kingdom to the music of the Persian court.

Ablaye Cissoko (kora and vocals), Kiya Tabassian (setar and vocals), Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba) and Ziya Tabassian (percussion).

Everywhere, from time immemorial, the word has been embodied by the Bard, the Troubadour, the Griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, are the links with the forces of nature, the inexpressible divine, the memory of the ancients. It falls to them to maintain the realm of the collective soul.

Nowadays, these freethinkers and travellers are making the world their garden… Like Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko, a griot from Saint-Louis, Senegal, an eternally migrating bird who is also a master of the kora. It is said that this 21-string bridge-harp of the ancient Manding Kingdom (13th century) was the most precious, most fought-over possession of the woman-sage. From this celestial creature, the musician seems to have inherited the quality of grace. The sweetness of his tone, the finesse of his melodic lines, the fluidity of his touch, his virtuosity without ostentation, his purity and generosity—all of these qualities are combined in this stellar musician who travels from childhood to wisdom anytime. By turns historian, storyteller and philosopher, Ablaye perpetuates the oral tradition of his land and embraces the great family destiny.

This meeting between Ablaye and Constantinople, between strings and vocals, goes back in time to evoke the beauty of being. It is a joint passage through the common sites of the imagination, like a long breath before the inexorable march of the world and time.

Thanks to the Gail Asper Family Foundation in memory of the late great Israel Asper's birthday on August 11th, 1932.

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