« as precious as the maternal milk »
orn in 1921 in Ziguinchor in Casamance, Kémokho Kandara Bamody Cissokho known as « Soundioulou » Cissokho is the son of the famous korafoláA korafolá is kora player in mandinka (who is able to make the kora talk) - korafolálu, plural., Kimintang Cissokho alias Bah Djaly, jèlíjèlí (plural, jèlílu) is a bard, a loremaster, and praise-singer in the Manding areas whose functions are story-telling, speaking about lineages, singing and playing music as he
wants and hears it. of the king Abdou N'DiayeThis song is dedicated to Abdou Ndiaye (1850 ? -1925). Abdou Ndiaye was a Muslim trader, a
trader quickly especially in the slave trade, initially installed at Bougouli in the Middle Casamance... Read more, and of Caroline Da Silva, daughter of a king and of a princess of Guinea
At the end of the primary school, he learned the kora under the guidance of his
paternal uncle Cirifo Kouyate and distinguished himself soon by his mastery of « Kuruntu KelefaLitterally, « Kuruntu Kelefa » means «
Kelefa trailed on his chariot ». Indeed, history said that the horses of and Kelefa Saneh, to which that song is devoted, were trained to move to the trot on the rhythm of that song. So was sung that
song during traveling and triumphs of the hero ... Read more. » (« Kelefa SaneThis song evokes the old conflict between Manding and
Fula ethnies and this conflict has increased since the end of XIX° century and ended to bloody wars... »). His uncle and a friend of him predict a great career. « Ba Dialy (...) told
his brother Djely Mady what had predicted one of his friends: " God gifted your son of something more than the others, he must learn the kora, he'll be a
great Dialy and a famous artist, everybody will know his name, he will be a king, a mansake (king) of the
At the age of 17, he became famous with the epic song panegyric devoted to the Cissokho, DiandjumbaLegends tell that «Janjon» was (nick?) name of a
sorcerer chaman like with great surnatural powers in the very early times of the Manding... Read more.. In 1948, he toured in Africa and Europe with Keïta Fodeba's Pan-African ballet of
and became the idol of the West Africans who called him by the nickname given by his parents, « Soundioulou », diminutive of « Soundioudji » i.e : « the maternal
milk » : « indeed, for his parents who had lost many children, Soundioulou was as precious as the milk for the child ».
source : Soundioulou Cissokho, «king of the kora» José Lapeyrère - translated by LNB
Thanks to his dexterity, subtle rhythmic and melodic kora playing, innovative creations and interpretations of folksongs of the traditional repertoire like « KairaDuring the years 1940 and 1950, when the movement for independence started, «Kaira» was the name adopted by the association of the young jelis of the city
Kita... Read more about. » and « SimbongSimbo is one of the most famous songs of the Mandenka traditionist folksongs. The tune is also
known as The Anthem of the Bow.Initialy, the simbo is the whistle of the Malinke hunter... More about. », Soundioulou signed with La Voix de Son Maître french label. This
quality-label will record in 1950s several 78 discs broadcasted on Radio Senegal and Radio Saint-Louis. After his mariage with Rokhaya Fall Ina, he established in Guinea Bissau and toured in
all the Manding area countries (Bissau, Katiour-Katiao, Bissora, Tiour, Mansua and Kantiongou). Soundioulou Cissokho got married with a second woman who was the daughter of a noble stockbreeder, Hawa
Kaloussaye, who died on October 5th, 1994, a few months after the death of her husband. His third wife, Maïmouna Galissa Kouyate, a great jèlíjèlí
(plural, jèlílu) is a bard, a loremaster, and praise-singer in the Manding areas whose functions are story-telling, speaking about lineages, singing and playing music as he wants and hears
it. from Guinean Bissau who had a perfect knowledge of the Manding repertoire, has accompanied him until her death.
In 1962, Soundioulou Cissokho joined the « Theatre du Palais » ruled by Maurice Sonar Senghor, the founder in 1948 in Paris
of a ballet of percussions and dances of Africa - both creators knew each other in 1950s. Soundioulou will be the founder member of traditional lyric Group when it became the National Daniel Sorano
de Dakar theatre in 1965. In these post independence years , he was often invited to the presidential Palace by Leopold Sedar Senghor to enliven official ceremonies solo with his kora.
« The royal couple of the African traditional music »
After his famous live tour at the worldwide Festival of the Negro Arts in Dakar in 1966, he has been decorated Knight of the Order of the Senegalese Merit by L.S. Senghor. In
1967, he leaved the Daniel Sorano theatre. Invited to the inauguration of the Palace of the People in Conakry, he has been crowned by the title « king of kora
» by Ahmed Sekou Toure. In the Guinean capital, he heared about a girl of 18 years in the gold voice, Maa Hawa Kouyaté, who became his wife.
The complicity in the duet is so intense that their forenames « Soundioulou and Mawa » are writtten on the calabash of
the kora of Soundioulou ; all fan are delighted by the titles like Bandian« Bandian » is a song
devoted to Bandian Sidibé. Bandian Sidibé was a great ivory sculptor in Kankan (Guinea), friend of young people and griots, who died suddenly in 1947. ... Read more., Maïmouna
Kouyate, a homage to his late wife, but also KedoKedo is a song was composed near 1865 after the war of the Moslim Fula people versus the pagan
kingdom of N'Kaabu..., SoryThis song tells about Fabou (Faboli) Daboloba Toure, so-called Keme Birama who was the younger brother
of Samory Toure... Read more., Emile Badiane (minister, deputy and mayor of Bignona in Casamance) and especially Mariama (his favourite
May 8th, 1994, Soundioulou Cissokho died naturally in his domicile, Soundioulou, the child who was not destined to play kora. Two days of
mourning had been decreed in the Senegal and in Guinea for this great virtuoso who contributed so much to the popularize kora in the world.
Josée Lapeyrère, late French psychoanalyst, poet, writer and manager of his son Djeour
Cissokho, told his life and art in a great book : Soundioulou Cissokho - King of the kora. (Allalaké - Dakar, 2000).