Kaira Ba ecstatically explores the spiritual songs, stories, and rhythms of Senegal’s millennia-old Mandé culture.
Bandleader Diali Cissokho chose the name “Kaira Ba” (meaning “The Great Peace”) because it elegantly reflects a core value that he and his band aim to express when they perform.
Cissokho comes from a long line of prominent hereditary griots – people who are entrusted to maintain a West African village’s genealogies and important ceremonial affairs through song. But he is much more than a preservationist. Cissokho and his band effortlessly integrate the traditional sounds of the kora, the 22-stringed bridge-harp, with a modern rush of electric guitar and an exuberant rhythm section.
The band formed in North Carolina in January of 2011, shortly after Cissokho’s immigration to the US. Kaira Ba has produced three full length albums, toured extensively in the US, and traveled twice as a band to Senegal. In 2014, Kaira Ba was nominated for the prestigious continent-wide All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA) in the category “Best African Group” for their album The Great Peace. In 2018, the band released its most ambitious album to date, Routes, which was recorded alongside a broad cast of guests in both North Carolina and Senegal. The album was met with critical acclaim upon its releases, being favorably reviewed by Afropop Worldwide, The Financial Times, OkayAfrica, the famed rock critic Robert Christgau for Noisey/Vice, and Songlines who wrote, “ This album is up there with the groundbreaking recordings of Thione Seck, Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour.” Kaira Ba has performed and taught at Universities, appeared in front of large festival audiences and shared stages with some of Africa’s most prominent international artists, including Angélique Kidjo, Vieux Farka Touré, and the late Khaira Arby.
The full 7-piece band is composed of Senegalese artists Diali Keba Cissokho (vocals and kora) and Tabou Diop (vocals and guitar), and North Carolina artists Jason Lentz (electric guitar), Peter Kimosh (bass), Joe MacPhail (keyboards), Austin McCall (drums), and Will Ridenour (percussion).
In all its work, Kaira Ba is committed to sharing its story and music in the name of cross-cultural learning, believing that music has the power to transgress borders and serve as an important resource for education, restoration and healing.
Kaira Ba is:
Diali Keba Cissokho – kora and vocals
Tabou Diop – vocals and guitar
Peter Kimosh – bass
Jason Lentz – guitar
Joe MacPhail – keyboards
Austin McCall – drums
Will Ridenour – percussion