Expressive singing and rhythmically rocking music define this unique and charismatic duo based in Sweden. Together with their groovy band, Sousou & Maher Cissoko line up well-known artists from Senegal and Sweden on kora, guitar, percussion and bass, incorporating influences from reggae, mbalax, folk, soul and the blues. Maher Cissoko was born into a legendary griot family from Casamance, Senegal, one that has seen the art of kora playing passed from generation to generation for more than 700 years. Maher has embellished this tradition and developed his own explosive and danceable style. "I can’t be a griot in the same way as my ancestors," he says. "But I can be a griot of today. My time is now." His music and life partner, Swedish singer Sousou Cissoko, is one of only a few female kora players in the world. She fell in love with the kora at an early age, heading to Gambia when she was just 19 to study the West African Mandinka traditions (Mandinkas live in an oral society and learning is traditionally done through stories, songs and proverbs). Since then, Sousou has returned many times in order to master the kora, traditional singing and guitar.
At the foundation of the kora musical tradition is the need to constantly renew yourself and find your own way, and that's what Sousou & Maher have been doing – literally! In 2011, they drove all the way from Stockholm, Sweden to Dakar, Senegal - a trip that became the inspiration for new songs and the ability to see connections where others see only boundaries. Since the release of their albums Adouna (2008), Stockholm-Dakar (2011) and Africa Moo Baalu (2014), the duo have toured as far as South Korea, often supporting big-name African artists like Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate and Amadou & Mariam.