1967, Koundara, Guinea. His father played kora with Ballet Djoliba, which he co-founded. Prompted by his uncle, griot master M'Bady Kouyaté, with whom he toured neighbouring countries, Cissoko also took up kora, a harp-like instrument. In the early 90s, he settled in Conakry, Guinea's capital, attending the National Children's Theatre; later, joining Kouyaté's National Instrumental Ensemble Of Guinea. He played solo in hotels and restaurants, blending contemporary and Western music with traditional. He had met French trumpeter Gilles Poizat and formed Tamalalou (the Traveller), a music and dance group.
After Tamalalou folded in 1999, Cissoko teamed up with cousins Kourou Kouyaté (bass) and Sékou Kouyaté (kora). By the early 00s, the group, known as Ba Cissoko, was a quartet through the addition of Ibrahim Bah (percussion). The group toured internationally, especially at festivals such as WOMAD. Working from...