Bazoumana (Banzounama or Banzumana)
This n’goni player – aka the « old lion » – was a Malian national treasure as well as a djeli (jeli) or griot.
The quintessential n’goni player was the late Banzumana Sissoko, perhaps the most revered and beloved Malian griot of the century. Until his death in 1987, he could virtually bring affairs in Mali to a halt when he went on the national radio to sing and play his large, deep-toned n’goni. Of course, it was principally Banzoumana’s incisive words that won people’s breathless attention, but the fact that he played a n’goni is significant. For Malians in particular, this instrument is deeply tied to their sense of history and identity.
via the late Charlie Gillett
In the 1970s, the Malian waves were largely influenced by American music, and Mama affirmed his affinity for blues and soul music, and in particular that of Otis Redding.
He is friends with Ali Farka TOURE from the mid-80s, they meet and play together amicably. 20 years later, Ali Farka was a world star since his Grammy Award. He contacted his friend for the album SAVANE released in 2006. The trio formed by Ali Farka TOURE, Bassekou KOUYATE, And Mama SISSOKO will then tour for 10 years and will cement an unfailing friendship.
In 2015 his nephew, to whom he taught the culture and secrets of the n’goni, encouraged him to make his own record, to make the world discover his unique guitar style.