It would seem that a Senegalese griot singer who plays the traditional West African 21-stringed kora would have little to discuss musically with a German-born, New York-based jazz trumpeter. But today's cross-cultural fusions often transcend both geography and genre, and whether it was fate or design that brought together Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze, it is we who are the beneficiaries.
Sira--which translates to mermaid and is the name of Cissoko's youngest daughter--is a demonstration of single-mindedness among two artists and a statement of respect between world-class musicians. Ablaye Cissoko, who comes from a centuries-long line of griots, or storytellers, is a master of intricate, lyrical string work and a vocalist whose deep emotionalism is conveyed in each line he sings. Volker Goetze is an accomplished trumpeter who has collaborated with some of the most important figures of the contemporary scene. Both are composers with an ear toward the future as well as the past.