Master kora player Yacouba Sissoko devotes his musical gift to expand the awareness of West African history and culture, spread the word of peace, and empower his listeners to take charge and realize their imagined futures. His performances have a magical effect on audiences as he skillfully transforms traditional songs and stories that he learned from his forefathers into modern-day messages of peace, love, and harmony.
His flexible virtuosity, which enables him to move seamlessly from one musical genre to another, has attracted the attention of an array of musicians who have sought him out as a collaborator.
All the while, Yacoba exposes new audiences to the enchanting sounds of the kora—a 21-stringed instrument that is plucked and produces a distinctive sound that is quickly associated with West Africa.
Rooted to give back to the community, Yacouba regularly performs cultural programs and benefit concerts. He works in partnership with La Maison d’Art Gallery in Harlem as a collaborator inviting other world musicians to take part in the gallery’s events. He regularly performs for the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational, and Cultural Center. He also provides workshops and presentations to primary school and university students. Recognizing his educational contributions, in 2007 he was selected as a Teaching Artist by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall and Carnegie’s Musical Explorers program.
Yacouba continues to blend his virtuosity effortlessly with other musical styles, whether in Indian ragas or Appalachian tunes. Currently, Yacouba can be seen performing regularly with Regina Carter and his own band, SIYA.