Last updated on April 22, 2019
For centuries, jelis—also called griots in French—have been the musical storytellers in parts of West Africa, respected as keepers of history, jurists, interpreters of current events and advisers to rulers. The jeli’s signature instrument is the kora, a 21-string lute with a large gourd resonator.
Master kora player, Yacouba Sissoko, has been described as the most talented djeli of his generation. Sissoko, was born in Kita in central Mali, to a well-known family of jelis.
In addition to performing as a soloist and with his band SIYA, Sissoko has toured with a variety of well-known artists and has recorded with Lauryn Hill, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, and Ami Koita.
Join the Cambridge Public Library for the next installment of the Stringed Theory series to explore the divine sounds of the kora with Yacouba Sissoko, hailed as the best kora player of his generation.