Saturday, February 14, 2009


German film-maker and trumpeter Volker Goetze brings a plaintive, understated tone to what is already a serene delivery by Senegalese griot Ablaye Cissoko on their collaboration, Sira. Cissoko's feather-light touch on the kora is matched by his own high, almost falsetto voice, and the considered approach to his art can tend to lead to his solo work feeling one-paced and in danger of floating away on its fragile, airy arrangements. On Sira, Goetze (who is also producer) pulls the dry, reflective side of the tunes back down earth by working his cool, jazz-tinged trumpet tones between the kora notes, or echoing Cissoko's mellifluous phrases with an assured articulacy that brings welcome added depth to the tender, gossamer-thin arrangements. It all makes for a pleasant, undemanding listen (only one track, Faro, sees Cissoko break into some robust improvisation) which won't have you rocking – or even swaying in time for that matter – but might just creep up and help calm the nerves at the end of a strenuous working day.


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