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Trí60 No.1: Solo Cissokho, Gerry O’Beirne & Tola Custy

Solo Cissokho (kora)

Gerry O'Beirne (guitar/tiple/ukulele/slide guitar)

Tola Custy (fiddle)

Irish music wears its globalism lightly, and from the earliest imports of American recordings at the turn of the 20th century to the current assimilation of European influences by contemporary artists, our tradition has comfortably renewed itself from diverse sources from North America and Scandinavia to the Iberian Peninsula and The Balkans. From autumn 2011 to summer 2012, Improvised Music Company and Conor Byrne, leading producers in traditional from home and abroad, will be bringing a brilliant array of musicians from across the globe to the NCH, where they will come together in a spirit of exploration with the leading lights of our own rich musical resource.

Six cycles of Trí60 are planned, starting in September with a trio drawn from Ireland and Senegal. Solo Cissokho is a seventh generation kora player from Casamance in Southern Senegal, and a troubadour of the unique music and culture of the griots, whose culture was at the heart of the mighty Manding empire that once ruled most of West Africa. Today, the griot continues to play a central role in the life of communities there, and Solo sheds lights on this fascinating and vibrant identity which embraces, poetry, music, praise singing and healing.

At the heart of griot culture is the kora, the regal 22 stringed harp and it’s beautiful cascades of rippling notes, and like his ancestors before him, Solo is a master of this poetic instrument. Globetrotting Clare man Gerry O’Beirne is another polymath, his considerable instrumental gifts at home on every conceivable guitar from dobro to ukelele, as sideman with everyone from Sharon Shannon to the Waterboys and as a much sought after studio producer. He writes beautiful songs too. Fiddler Tola Custy brings his experience from bands like Calico and Guidewires to complete the trio. In a country rich in the fiddle tradition, Tola is a talisman for a generation of musicians that bridge Ireland’s tradition to the wider world.

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