Hickory – The City of Hickory’s 2021 Sails Original Music Series, presented by Frye Regional Medical Center, continues with Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba on Friday, October 22, at 6:30 p.m. in Downtown Hickory.

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba ecstatically explore the spiritual songs, stories, and rhythms of Senegal’s millennia-old Mandé culture. Cissokho comes from a long line of prominent musical storytellers known as griots 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, Kaira Ba, effortlessly integrate the traditional sounds of the kora with a modern rush of electric guitar and an exuberant rhythm section. Together, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba sustain one of West Africa’s most expressive legacies with their own energetic interpretations.

The band formed in North Carolina in January 2011, shortly after Cissokho’s immigration to the United States, and includes Diali Keba Cissokho (kora, vocals), Jonathan Henderson (bass), Will Ridenour (percussion), John Westmoreland (guitar), and Austin McCall (drum set).

Kaira Ba has produced three full length albums, toured extensively in the U.S., 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. 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.

Sails Music Coordinator Bob Sinclair says, “For over 10 years, the Sails Original Music Series has been presenting diverse and unique musical acts to the citizens of Hickory. This Friday, it is Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba. This is going to be a really exciting and unusual musical night. The music of Senegal is rich with stories and grooves that will have our Friday attendees up and swaying to the music. The music is infectious and fluid and fun. I bet you won’t be able to sit still!”

The Sails Original Music Series is able to bring excellent musical entertainment from all over the United States with the help of numerous sponsors, including Bob Sinclair Music, Larry’s Music & Sound, Pfahlert Creative Labs, Olde Hickory Brewery, and Crowne Plaza.

Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Union Square businesses will sell beer and wine in special marked cups that may be consumed on Union Square. There are a variety of close-by restaurants to also patronize.

The Sails Original Music Series will finish out the season with The Get Right Band on October 29.

For more information about the Sails Original Music Series and upcoming bands, please visit www.HickoryNC.gov/SailsMusic and follow the Sails Original Music Series Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SailsMusic.

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba