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At a time when cross-cultural music has tended toward highly-caffeinated electric pop and dance music, Ballake Sissoko, who plays a lute-harp from Mali (traditional kora), and Vincent Segal, the French cellist who plays for the trip-hop band Bumcello remind us that there is room - and maybe even a need - for something quieter, something more refined. The cello, of course is not a traditional African instrument. But Chamber Music, in its depth of feeling and variety of moods, is authentically African. The kora may not appear in the duos, trios, or quartets of Beethoven, Schumann, or Brahms; but the obvious musical and personal connection between Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal also marks this as an organic, authentic, original type of chamber music. And perhaps the combination of kora and cello works so well, frankly, because there are no expectations for it.
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