There are few people in music that work as hard as Boddhi Satva does, that I can say with a degree of certainty. Not only is he one of the hardest working men in music, but successfully juggles a variety of roles. Boddhi Satva is a DJ, recording artist, producer and owns his own record company Offering Recordings, for which he’s also the A&R man. So far, 2012 has been a busy and successful year for Boddhi Satva. 2012 started with Boddhi releasing Invocation In March, one of the most powerful, moving and beautiful albums of the year. He then followed this up with Invocation Instrumentals, which revealed a quite different and fascinating side to the songs on Invocation. As if 2012 hadn’t been a busy enough year having released two albums, and touring and continuing to DJ extensively, somehow, Boddhi found time to produce Sage Monk’s recent album Heartache Allegory, which was released by Offering Records as a free digital download. Like Invocation and Invocation Instrumentals, Heartache Allegory was an extremely powerful and emotional musical journey, a musical journey that was beautiful, uplifting and inspirational. Another of Boddhi’s roles in that of A&R man for Offering Recordings. It was whilst Boddhi Satva was carrying out this roles that Boddhi discovered Idrissa Sissoko in Mali. Having come across Idrissa Sissoko purely by chance, Idrissa played Boddhi just a few songs. Instantly, Boddhi realized just how talented Idrissa Sissoko is, and before the sun had set, Idrissa had signed his first recording contract. Since then, Idrissa Sissoko has recorded his debut album Lopilopilo, which will be released in September 2012 by Offering Recordings. Before I tell you about the music on Idrissa Sissoko’s debut album Lopilopilo, I’ll tell you about Idrissa Sissoko.

Idrissa Sissoko is a singer and poet, who was born in Kaye, Mali. His musical style has been influenced by the Griot bards. Griot bards much more that master storytellers, they’re hailed as historians, poets and musicians. Griot bards combine wit and satire with their knowledge of politics and history. This tradition in Mali stretches back to the fourteenth century, and can be found in other parts of West Africa. However, when Idrissa was younger, he left Mali, and headed to another part of Africa, Libya, in Northern Africa.

When Idrissa Sissoko arrived in Libya, it was to troubled times. Khaddafi was persecuting musicians, burning musical instruments. As musicians were persecuted, Idrissa had to endure both verbal and physical aggression. After a few years, Idrissa headed home to Mali. It was lucky he decided to do so, because in Mali he met the man who’d give him his first record contract…Boddhi Satva.

Neither Idrissa Sissoko nor Boddhi Satva went looking for each other in Mail. Instead, fate intervened. Boddhi came across Idrissa by chance. Idrissa played Boddhi a few songs and before the sun set that night in Mali, Idrissa Sissoko was had had signed his first recording contract. However, who is Idrissa Sissoko and what does he stand for?

The best way to describe Idrissa Sissoko is a man whose both charismatic and passionate. He uses his music share his vision and observations about Africa in a way that’s honest and innovative. Idrissa is something of a visionary and spokesperson for all of Africa and its diaspora. Neither defeat nor compromise are words in Idrissa’s vocabulary as he speaks of Africa and his hopes for the future and his fears about the poverty, violence and economic that blights Africa’s poorer regions. Sometimes, Idrissa uses humor as a means to get across the message he wants to share with the wider world. This humor can be heard in Idrissa’s music, along with passion, emotion and honesty on the six tracks on Lopillopilo.

Having recorded his debut album Lopillopilo, which will be released by Offering Recordings in September 2012, Wari was chosen as the lead single. Wari was released to critical acclaim earlier this year. Since then, people everywhere have been anticipating the release of Idrissa Sissoko’s debut album Lopillopilo, which I’ll now tell you about.

Opening Lopillopilo is the lead slngle Wari, which like the other tracks on Lopillopilo was written, arranged and produced by Idrissa Sissoko. It’s just Idrissa playing acoustic guitar that opens the track, before his impassioned, heartfelt vocal enters.  This is a powerful and compelling combination, with Idrissa not just singing lead vocal, but harmonizing too. His vocal isn’t just emotive and impassioned, but soulful and deeply moving. You feel he’s chosen each word with the utmost care and attention, and as he delivers these lyrics believes in and means every word he sings.

On Dibi Idrissa’s fingers nimbly weave up and down the fretboards, as he plays a wistful, somewhat melancholy acoustic guitar solo. His vocal is full of emotion, as it grows in power. With just his trusty acoustic guitar accompanying him, Idrissa delivers one of his most fervent vocals, full of sincerity and intensity.

Lettre de Tripoli sees Idrissa draw upon his time and experiences in Libya, where he spent a few tumultuous years. Although it’s just Idrissa and his acoustic guitar that feature on this track, you can sense the pain and heartache that he endured during his time in Libya. As a musician, he was persecuted and had to endure physical and verbal assaults. All the hurt, pain and humiliation literally just pours out of Idrissa. It’s certainly powerful and dramatic, as he combines humor with anger and frustration. I hope for Idrissa in sharing his experiences, it was cathartic and cleansing too.

With just his acoustic guitar accompanying him as Lopilopilo begins, Idrissa effectively uses it to build up the drama. After a flourish of his guitar, he unleashes  a loud guffaw then shares the subtleties and secrets of this song. As his vocal grows in power and passion, he delivers the lyrics with feeling and charisma. Although it’s just Idrissa accompanied by his guitar, this proves a powerful combination, especially Idrissa’s mixture of charisma and emotion, which proves uplifting and inspirational.

When Bassirou Sissoko opens with Idrissa passionately plucking his guitar, you sense the intensity and passion that’s about to be unleashed. Just by the effort and emotion Idrissa puts into playing his guitar, somehow, you realize that Idrissa’s vocal will be a heartfelt fusion of feelings, fervor and frustration. He doesn’t disappoint, delivering a dramatic, feisty vocal, where heartache and hope rise to the surface. As if overwhelmed and spent at having given so much of himself, his guitar then takes centre-stage. Idrissa’s playing is like his vocal, a mixture of power and passion that proves almost as powerful as his vocal.

Closing Lopilopilo is Yiri, where Idrissa plays with a similar power and intensity as the previous track. It’s as if he has so much to say and share, and so little time to do so. He’s so keen to get his message across that this comes out in his playing. His vocal is wholehearted and fervid, with the lyrics delivered, quickly with an urgency and intensity. This is what makes this track such a compelling and powerful one, one that’s also heartfelt and soulful.

Boddhi Satva’s chance encounter with Idrissa Sissoko truly was a fortuitous one. If it hadn’t taken place, then we’d never had the chance to experience Idrissa Sissoko’s music, the music that features on Lopilopilo. The music on Lopilopilo is best described as emotive, powerful, passionate and intense, but also, moving and soulful. It’s music that’s for the heart and the soul, music that’s cathartic, music that soothes and cleanses the soul. All these are similar qualities to the music on Boddhi Satva’s invocation and Invocation Instrumentals, and on Sage Monk’s Heartache Allegory. To this trio of stunning albums, you can add Idrissa Sissoko’s debut album Lopilopilo. This is a new type of soul music, one for the 21st Century, music where two cultures are united through music. Although Lopilopilo is only six tracks long, plus three remixes, it’s an incredibly intense, powerful and moving musical journey, that once you’ve experienced it, will want to relive and experience again. You’ll get the chance to embark on, and experience firsthand, this intense, powerful and moving musical journey, that is Idrissa Sissoko’s debut album Lopilopilo, which will be released by Offering Recordings in September 2012. Standout Tracks: Wari, Dibi, Lettre de Tripoli and Yiri.


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