Sacred Songs and Rituals: The Kora with Yacouba Sissoko

By Cambridge Public Library

Join us for an evening of music with Yacouba Sissoko, a Master kora player from the djely tradition. 

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.: Thursday, September 22 6:30pm – 8pm.

Ages: Pre-natal to 18 and Adults.

Contact

Main Library Q&A Desk
Help & Information Desk
617-349-4041

Registration required

  • Sign-up is ongoing

Free!

Location

  • In-person only.

Main Library

449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138
Maraykanka

Mid Cambridge

Additional information

Throughout West African history, djelys, or storytellers, were respected oral historians, jurists, interpreters of current events, and advisers to rulers. The songs sung by djelys were stories that had been passed down from generation to generation and captured the oral history of the people and culture of West Africa describing social life, cultural identity, and family backgrounds. The djely's signature instrument is the kora, a 21-string lute with a large gourd resonator. The kora and djely play an important role in the founding of the Mali Empire which, at the height of its power and influence in the 14th century, encompassed present day Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, and the Gambia. 

The kora was played as a solo instrument by djelys, whose roles in society were to perform exclusively for kings, nobility, and village chiefs. The songs sung by djelys were stories that had been passed down from generation to generation, and captured the oral history of the people and culture of West Africa describing social life, cultural identity, and family backgrounds.

During the height of the pandemic, many community members found solace in sacred songs and rituals across cultures and worship traditions of the world. This series was created to celebrate those traditions and is supported by the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library.