The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum presents a performance by Youssoupha Sidibe on Sunday, September 30th at  3 pm. This rescheduled concert will conclude the museum’s Wednesday Folk Traditions series. A Grammy-nominated Senegalese Master Kora player Sidibe breaks with tradition to create a new genre that blends aspects of western music with Reggae, ancient African Harp styles and West African traditional and devotional music. Porter‑Phelps‑Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley MA 01035.  Admission is $12, $2 children 16 and under. The museum and its grounds are a smoke-free site.

Youssoupha Sidibe’s deft playing on the Kora, an African harp fashioned from a calabash gourd, forms the foundation of his music which spans many languages and cultures.  He sings in Wolof, the most widely-spoken language in Senegal, as well as Arabic, French, and English. The Kora is closely related to storytelling practices in Senegal, as family history is passed down orally from generation to generation. Sidibe builds upon this tradition, his music being inspired by his realization of divine love in the world as he draws upon Sufi devotional chant music. By blending aspects of reggae, Western music, and the sounds of the Sufi of the Senegalese Bay Faal community, Sidibe has developed a new style of musical expression and amassed a global following. He has also performed with a myriad of acclaimed artists including Michael Franti, Bela Fleck, the Chris Berry Trio, and Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers, the legendary New Orleans saxophonist and mainstay of the Pioneer Valley music community who passed away in April. 

The Kora, an instrument made from a large calabash gourd and resonant cow skin, similar to a lute or a guitar, has a sound most similar to the harp, and is tuned by moving leather bands up and down the neck of the instrument.  Sidibe studied the Kora at the National Music Conservatory of Senegal, and has since incorporated the themes of healing, divine love, and devotional music into his performance. While Sidibe was originally inspired by the chants of the Bay Faal community, a Sufi Islamic sect founded in 1892 by Mame Cheikh Ibrahim Fall, known as “The Light,” he has since gone on to collaborate with Matisyahu, a Billboard-charted reggae artist. Together, they worked on Matisyahu’s album “Youth” which was nominated for a Grammy Award for best Reggae album of 2007.  Sidibe also brings out the delta-blues style of picking of the Kora. In the Valley, he often collaborated with New Orleans musician Charles Neville. On the Kora’s 21 strings, played by both hands, Sidibe creates an ethereal sound that is like “hearing a snippet of ancient, musical history brought back to life” (Morena Duwe -Jumpsuit).

To visit Youssoupha's website: Click Here

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