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A person can choose / but God’s decision is everything / nobody can undo it / my father has passed away / it can’t be taken back / God, you have surprised me / I didn’t know you could do this to me / but Father, I’m back / I’m back playing Alla L’a Ke for you / come back! / I’m singing to the Cissokhos / everybody clap your hands / today is gonna be a beautiful day
My beautiful family / I’m talking to you / listen to this / arguing is not good / I didn’t choose you to be my family, but we are / we have the same blood / God has decided this / so let’s stop yelling and come together
Our children are the future / we need to show them the right direction / there will be a day when we are no longer here / their feet will soon be where our feet were / each child is precious / we are not allowed to abandon them In the distance hear them calling Bamba / children of the coming rising sun / what will be the world they meet tomorrow / if we don’t make the peace before they come? / In the distance hear them singing Bamba / voices of the day that’s yet to be / melodies are made of love and sorrow / let the music wash your spirit free
No matter what, death is unavoidable / in this world we live in / this is the reality / now I believe it / now I know what it means / I’m singing to the Diebates / my Mom, she has passed / let’s be sad and cry / this is all we can do / my Mom, she will never be forgotten
Nobody can be sure about love / it’s so hard to believe / love can make you so sick / you can no longer taste food / meaning is lost / but it’s worth the risk / my love, you are inside my heart / when I see you, I’m happy / if I don’t see you, I cry, cry, cry / I’m gonna be patient with you / no matter what you believe / I’m gonna make you happy, happy, happy Fire burns the forest, leaves the trees / my heart flames with sickness and with greed / but it’s love that brings me to my knees / Ma Cherie, you set me free
Judging people you don’t know is wrong / it’s a hurtful thing to do / God doesn’t like when a person looks down on another / when you say beautiful things about another, you will sleep well / today I’m singing so you will know this / so you can consider not judging other people / because you don’t know their story
Ndoli has a deep history / every generation has kept it / our children are gonna see Ndoli next / Saturday is play day / there’s no school / let’s play outside while our parents watch / if you find what I hide, you’ll get a baby chicken! / Ndoli is coming!
Listen to these instruments, can you hear them? / do you hear this melody, this music, this voice / all that comes from our hearts / it’s true / listen to this music today / these people I’m playing music with / we’re not the same culture / we’re not the same religion / but our heart is the same / I believe that / the way you are, the way you believe... keep it / but don’t judge other people for what they believe / you can’t play music like this if your heart is not beautiful
Oh how I miss my friends / we were born together / we played together / we grew up together / this was such a long time ago / I’ll never forget it / I remember it like it was yesterday / true friends are everything
Salimata was so beautiful / nobody could even look at her / but she died without a husband / it was her choice / she never took any suitor seriously / she always refused them / she took advantage of each man who loved her / Salimata, you died alone / it’s a bad idea to act this way / don’t see yourself as too good for anyone to love you / women of today, please, don’t act like this / look at the example of my mom / she was beautiful and she made the choice to marry / today I am here because of her / women of today, please, a marriage proposal is a big deal / it means we can live together, and we can die together
My Mom, my Dad / I appreciate you so much / I miss seeing you together, laughing, eating, hanging out / I hope you can continue that / I love you and respect you / when I grow up, I want you both to be a part of my life / to see who I will become / to be proud of me / so you don’t regret bringing me into your lives / Dad, you are a wonderful musician / you have always paid great attention to your kids / you feed us, support us / you have always wanted a better life for your kids


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Anchored by the kora and vocals of griot kora player and singer Diali Keba Cissokho, Kaira Ba has created a singular cross-cultural statement with their 2018 album Routes. This album builds a bridge across the Atlantic, connecting worlds thousands of miles apart but intimately bound by a shared history. Over the course of two years, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba recorded Routes in North Carolina, USA, and in M’bour, Senegal. The collaboration grew to include 35 musicians, each of whom listened deeply to the others in this musical conversation. Sounds of Senegal intertwine with those of the U.S. South -- sabar and soruba orchestras, tama (talking drum), balafon, and fula flute weave through gospel organ and pedal steel, sax, trumpet, trombone and string quartet – musicians calling back and forth across continents, drawing each other close though an ocean away.


released June 29, 2018

Produced by Jonathan Henderson and Jason Richmond

Kaira Ba is:
Diali Keba Cissokho - Kora, Lead vocals
John Westmoreland - Guitar, Charango
Jonathan Henderson - Bass, Percussion
Austin McCall - Drum Kit, Calabash, Percussion
Will Ridenour - Djembe, Sabar, Dunduns, Congas, Percussion

Senegalese Artists:
Ablaye Daffé - Soruba, Sabar
Ablaye Cissokho - Soruba, Sabar
Mamadou Cissokho - Soruba, Sabar, Guitar, Vocals
Abdou Ndiaye - Soruba, Sabar
Bayemor Mbaye - Soruba, Sabar
Yaye Boye - Vocals
Yande - Backing Vocals
Ndai Mbaye - Backing Vocals
Sunkare Kouyate - Balafon
Baba Galle Kante - Fula Flute
Ibrahima Sene - Tama

U.S. Artists:
Eric Heywood - Pedal Steel Guitar
Tony Williamson - Mandolin
Shana Tucker - Vocals
Tamisha Waden - Vocals
Alan Thompson - Alto Saxophone
Jennifer Curtis - 1st Violin, Solo Violin
Elizabeth Phelps - 2nd Violin
Suzanne Rousso - Viola
Paula Peroutka - Cello
Beverly Botsford - Shekere and Sound Colors
Chuckey Robinson - Organ
Lynn Grissett - Trumpet
Andy Kleindienst - Trombone
Jim Henderson - Baritone Saxophone
Sidya Cissokho - Sabar

Executive Producer, Jonathan Henderson
Recorded and Mixed by Jason Richmond
Recorded at Auberge Africa Thiossane (Saly, Senegal) and Fidelitorium Recordings, Sound Pure Studios, and Moeser Auditorium (North Carolina, USA)
Mastering by Dave McNair

Cover art by Saba Taj
Interior design and layout by Cherie Westmoreland
Liner notes by Diali Cissokho, Will Ridenour, and Jonathan Henderson

All photographs by Jonathan Henderson except booklet cover by Bruce dePyssler and Assistant Engineer at Fidelitorium Recordings: Andrew McClenney

All songs written, arranged, and recorded by Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, except “Xarit” by Youssoupha Cissokho, and “Waajur” by Mamadou Cissokho (from “Night in M’bour”)

© Twelve | Eight Records 2018


all rights reserved



Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba Carrboro, North Carolina

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba's music is steeped in ancient West African griot traditions, but propelled into the 21st century by the modernizing impulses of a rock band format. Cissokho's electrifying voice conveys timeless themes of mythology, migration, and and justice. Together, Kaira Ba's cross-continental music illuminates stories centuries-old; renewing their relevance in a globalized world. ... more

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