Ablaye Cissoko/Volker Goetze
Ablaye Cissoko/Volker Goetze


The music that German-born and New York City-based trumpeter Volker Goetze and Senegalese vocalist and kora player Ablaye Cissoko create transcends both geographic and musical boundaries.  When the duo first came together for their 2008 debut, Sira, their collaboration resulted in a unique musical synthesis that fused the timeless tradition of the storyteller/griot with a modern perspective.  On their Motéma Music debut, Amanké Dionti (May 8), Goetze and Cissoko have once again set out on an spiritual sonic journey, one that ranges from the desert and coast of West Africa to the urban landscapes of New York and Paris and which addresses themes of our ancient spiritual roots, and our hurried, dehumanized modern strife.  In the tradition of the griot, Cissoko attempts to mend our souls with music, and with Goetze as his partner and champion, he succeeds, as their recordings are truly soul soothing.

Goetze says that the music on Amanké Dionti evolved during the extensive touring schedule he and Cissoko have kept up since the release of Sira. “You can say that Sira came about intuitively, while by the time we recorded Amanké Dionti, we were much more aware of the elements that make our pairing work,” he explained.  Performing internationally certainly provided the duo with ample space in which to further define their unique chemistry, whether it was during sound checks, backstage, or performing live.  And while the spirit of improvisation is key to the almost meditative essence of their sound, Goetze also emphasizes that Amanké Dionti is equally about focus.  “When we play, we are simply playing in a state of mind much like meditating.   Any great performer knows how to get into his ‘zone,’ and it amazes me that we can stay in that zone for over an hour every time we perform live. Of course, the energy of the audience helps.  But when we are recording, it’s important to spend as much time as necessary in that place as well, not for the sake of perfection, but to allow that same moment of peace to enter.  If one meditates, you know that we cannot stay ‘in the moment’ for very long.  It’s hard work. The mind wanders. One continually needs to bring it back to the present, to the breath.”




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