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Digital Africa by Dhafer Youssef featuring Ballake Sissoki and Eivind Aarset

  • Sunday 24 July 2022
  • The Stoller Hall
  • £40 - £35

‘This is a landmark occasion in our multicultural city. In order to change the way we engage, experience and interpret art, it is important to be seen and heard through producing relevant and high quality work’ – Rizwan Iqbal, Artistic Director, Salaam Festival

Featuring Dhafer Youssef, Ballaké Sissoko and Eivind Aarset

Dhafer Youssef will perform in Manchester for the first time with a world premier titled ‘Digital Africa’. The unexpected combination of oud, kora and electric guitar sounds obvious and relevant in the hands of these musical accomplices, and the trio allows space at the same time for expression and dialogue. Digital Africa is the promise of many surprises!

Oud master, vocalist and composer Dhafer Youssef is at the vanguard of a movement in contemporary music that brings East and West together. One of the most inventive oud players, he has succeeded in freeing the instrument from its traditional role and bringing it into jazz. Together with two masters of their instruments and boundary-breakers, Dhafer Youssef explores his African roots with a new and modern perspective.

Salaam Festival is a Manchester based biennial festival that explores the future of Muslim art and culture through the production of original, new work and and presenting artists across disciplines and genres.

Dhafer Youssef is a singer, composer, and oud player born in Teboulba, Tunisia. He comes from a long line of muezzins – mastering vocal performances is to him a heritage and a family tradition. Youssef’s music combines Sufi tradition, world, mystical, and jazz influences with Arabic lyricism. Indeed, he is today considered to be the most inventive Oud player, and a leader of the movement referred to as contemporary music, which fuses Eastern and Western music.

Ballaké Sissoko is a Malian kora player and composer who is considered to be one of the most important musicians of his generation. Ten fingers for twenty-one strings, and magic takes place, surely, calmly. Ballaké enlaces us in his suave and crystalline sonority and his kora, magnified by his talent as a melodist and an improviser. His work is the result of long conservations he never tires of having with his instrument.

Eivind Aarset – Norway’s Eivind Aarset has established himself as an exploratory guitarist, composer, producer, and sound designer. His unique musical vision absorbs and reflects influences from many musical genres and approaches. Aarset’s attention to detail and careful craftsmanship have resulted in recontextualizing the role of the guitar in modern creative music. His music evokes moods that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity.

Photo credit : Arno Lam

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