Your Sunday Morning Jazz Album: Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze – “Sira”


Sunday morning is when the serenity comes down.  Sunday morning is the cocoon from the heavy exhaustion of too much Saturday night fun.  Sunday morning is when the city agrees to use its inside voice.  Sunday morning is when a hush settles in over the land.  It is a time for sitting still and listening to quiet music and silently praying the aspirin and coffee do something to stop your head from exploding.  Drama and stress are strictly forbidden on Sunday morning.

Your Sunday Morning Jazz Album is just for you, for times just like these.  If you possess the freakish compulsion to get-up-and-go when the clock strikes Sunday morning, this music is not for you.  Go and listen to a Spotify EDM playlist or something.  But whatever you decide, just do it quietly and far away from those of us who appreciate the true solemn nature of a Sunday morning.

Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze tapped into a vision of serenity, and I’m not sure they’ve ever snapped out of it.  Their 2008 release Sira was the first of many collaborations between the duo, and not one of them has strayed from the outcome of instilling peace and tranquility and joy anywhere within reach of their sublime music.  On its face, it’d be forgivable to think that the two might not snap so neatly into place.  Cissoko brings to the mix his kora and his Senegalese folk music background.  Goetze has his trumpet and the type of jazz expressionism that reflects the European scene most pervasive to the German’s origins.  But, good god, it’s not just that they’re in sync, but that every note of every song bonds together like they were meant to from birth.

Cissoko’s vocals are hypnotic.  They melt into the slow river of the kora’s melodicism.  Goetze’s trumpet makes its presence felt in soft bursts, like rays of sunlight that occasionally break through a patch of dark clouds.  On the other hand, when Goetze’s trumpet becomes a more permanent fixture on “Bamaya,” its effect upon the affair is no less profound.  A similar result occurs on the instrumental track “Gorgorlou” in how the vacuum created by the absence of vocals is easily compensated for on the strength of their musicianship.  Adding further texture is the hop and skip motion of “Domain Domain” and how it brings a bit of liveliness to an album that could easily bliss out on its lovely melodies.  There is not a moment on this recording that isn’t gorgeous.

You need this album today, right now.

  • Artist-Title:  Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze – Sira
  • Personnel:  Ablaye Cissoko (kora, vocals) and Volker Goetze (trumpet, flugelhorn)
  • Proper Use:  1) On the rooftop, with morning coffee and headphones and sleepy eyes, to greet the sunrise, 2) The soundtrack for a fireplace, or 3) Reprieve from everything awful in the world.

Released originally in 2008 on ObliqSound and then reissued later on Motema Music.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic

And, as a bonus recommendation, here’s a video for their 2012 follow-up recording Amanké Dionti.  The song is titled “Haiti.”

You can listen to Amanké Dionti, and purchase it, at the artist’s Bandcamp page.