Solo Cissokho

Solo is a master of the kora, the regal 22 stringed harp with its beautiful cascades of rippling notes and addictive West African grooves.

– One Root Music

Solo Cissokho is a griot – a special performer, storyteller and praise singer who transmits his African heritage through music.

Solo Cissokho belongs to the Mandinka-people, a Senegalese minority that makes up for 3% of the population in his country of birth. Solo hails from Ziguichor in the Casamance district, and was born into a family that has seen the art of kora playing being passed from generation to generation through more than 700 years.

Solo was introduced to the 21-string harp at the tender age of 7. Says Cissokho on the early days: “I began my career by building my own kora. That way you really learn the characteristics of your instrument.” The first attempts at playing it were accompanied by cries of frustration: “It was so difficult to reach all 21 strings with just four fingers!”

Solo Cissokho was awarded one of his career’s highest distinctions: the BBC World Music Awards in the Boundary Crossing category. The release that earned him this prestigious award was the 2002 “Tretakt Takissaba” album that featured Cissokho and Swedish fiddler Ellika Frisell fusing spacious Scandinavian folk music with the African harp’s rich timbre.