Malian kora master Ballaké Sissoko releases new record ‘A Touma’

Today, Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko releases his new solo album, A Touma, via Parisian label Nø Førmat!. The album – available digitally to all, & on physical formats exclusively to members of the Nø Førmat! Pass label subscription – is a companion to Sissoko’s widely applauded recent album, Djourou, and takes its title for the word meaning ‘this is the moment’ in Sissoko’s native Bambara language. 

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There’s no doubt that Ballaké owes his taste and talent for the musical encounter to his consummate listening skills. But they’re also the fruit of the long conservations he never tires of having with his own instrument. During these strange and paradoxical ‘solitary dialogues’, he makes his kora speak and reacts to the emotions it arouses in him, letting his imagination and his fingers fly off to landscapes that are both magnificent and unknown. It’s there that his qualities as an improviser can be accurately measured, qualities that he began cultivating long ago in the shadow of the venerable elders of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, when he was still a young boy.

Though two of the pieces also feature on Djourou, the new album gathers together eight solo compositions in a musical conversation between a master, made of flesh and spirit, and his ‘double’, made of string and wood. It’s a captivating, intimate and authentic testament, recorded in one afternoon, in which Ballaké takes us on a journey that demonstrates the heights of mastery and freedom that this discreet giant of global music has scaled in his forty-year-long career.


Nø Førmat! is an independent record label based in Paris, founded in 2004 by renowned music producer Laurent Bizot. Founded on the epithet that “you never know in advance what you’ll fall in love with”, the label seeks to invest in original musical projects and has built a reputation for releasing albums which are superbly recorded and packaged with style over the last 17 years. The label has released critically acclaimed albums by the most diverse range of artists including the likes of Ballaké, Oumou Sangaré, Chilly Gonzales, ALA.NI, Vincent Segal, Kassé Mady Diabaté and Mélissa Laveaux amongst many others.


Nø Førmat!’s PASS subscription is a cooperative economic model, based on a system which allows members to finance, directly and in advance, future musical works from the label’s catalogue. Subscription at any point in a calendar year will unlock access to the full year’s releases in a format of your choosing (CD, vinyl, digital) alongside access to digital premium content, invitations to private shows, exclusive merchandise (including silk screen prints, music scores, books and more) and a 20% discount across the entire Nø Førmat! catalogue.