After Jardin Migrateurs in 2015, Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko refresh their quartet formation, painting a contemporary fresco at the crossroads of Mandinka and Persian musical traditions.

In Traversées, it feels like the kora and the setar have always coexisted. Although the Iranian-Canadian trio Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko – who engage in the jazz melodies of St-Louis, Senegal – may come from different regions, they are playing on the same strings. Delicate and noble. Beyond a simple exercise of style, the quartet perpetuates the soul and rhythm of nomadic poets, pilgrims, smugglers, the griots of Africa Mandinka and of the medieval Khorasan bakhshish.

From daydreams (“Rêveries”) to crossings (“Traversées”), Ablaye Cissoko and Kiya Tabassian signal all movements, all departures (“Départs”) towards Isfahan, Iran (“Vers Isfahan”). In time, they visit the pre-Islamic poetry of the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrau and elsewhere they pass the pearls of Renaissance Spain in “Recercada Quinta,” a majestic piece decorated with Baroque accents where the viola da gamba marks the most charming adornment. 

Far from positioning themselves as timeless, this well-tuned quartet communicate the world in the present, celebrating wisdom, love and unity.


Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko – Traversées (Ma Case Records)

In concert on February 14, 2019 at the Studio de l’Ermitage in Paris as part of the festival Au Fil des Voix.

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