Since his arrival to the UK in 2002, master kora player and drummer Modou has completed a national tour with Jalikunda Cissokho and performed in Spain, Norway, Sweden, Russia, France and Estonia.
After mesmerising audiences at Glastonbury Festival 2002, he became a regular performer and teacher at both Womad Charlton Park and Drum Camp from 2002 until the present.
Modou has performed at other UK festivals including The Larmar Tree, Window of the World, Tribe of Doris, Trowbridge Festival, and Bristol’s very own St Paul’s Carnival, Harbourside Festival, Ashton Court and St George’s. Modou also performed at the 2010 launch of the Brighton Kora festival.
Modou’s music has been in demand from the global film industry. Commissioned by Warner Brothers, his Djembe playing can be heard in the soundtrack of the blockbluster movie, ‘Blood Diamond’, and at the request of Bryan Elsley, his kora playing featured in a couple of episodes of the teenage cult series ‘Skins’ between 2008 and 2009.
Mamadou (Modou) N’Diaye Cissokho is a member of the famous Cissokho family of Griot musicians and oral historians from the Cassamance region of Southern Senegal.
The name Cissokho comes from his mother (Fatou Bintou Cissokho) and the name N’Diaye from his Father. As a virtuoso drummer and percussionist with a superb repertoire of rhythms, Modou plays a variety of West African instruments ranging from djembe, sabar and talking drum to his leading instrument, the 22 string kora (West African harp). The group CASSA AFRO blend together with beautiful harmonies, the dulcet yet lively tones of the kora, bass guitar, calabash, djembe and heart-warming vibrant West African Fulla flute, fusing together traditional and modern sounds. It is a truly irrisistable mix!
A Griot or Jeli is a West African historian, advisor, arbitrator, praise singer, story-teller and entertainer. Essentially these musicians were walking history books, preserving their ancient stories and traditions through song. Their inherited traditions were passed down through the generations. The Griot are now an integral part of their community as they are called upon to play at many important events, such as weddings and naming ceremonies. Growing up within a Griot family in Ziguinchor, Modou learnt to play the kora, taught by his grandfather (Jali Kemo Cissokho), from the age of five. These traditional influences continue to inspire his music today. Modou is very proud of his heritage and has developed his own unique style over the years.