Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba Close Centenary Stage Company’s Winter Thaw Series

PRESS RELEASE: HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. – Centenary Stage Company’s (CSC) Winter Thaw Festival of concerts will end the series with a performance from Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba on Februrary 3 at 8 p.m. The concert will take place at CSC’s Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Avenue, Hackettstown. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $15 for students of any age and children under 12. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit centenarystageco.org or call the CSC box office at (908) 979-0900. 

Bandleader Diali Cissokho chose the name “Kaira Ba” (meaning “The Great Peace”) because it reflects a core value that he and his band aim to express when they perform. Kaira Ba explores the spiritual songs, stories and rhythms of Senegal’s millennia-old Mandé culture. Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba blend the traditions and rhythms of West African music with subtle timbres of the American South. In essence, they make dance music that bridges the continental divide. 

Cissokho and his band strive to integrate the traditional sounds of the kora, the 22-stringed bridge-harp, with a modern rush of electric guitar and rhythm section. 

The full seven-piece band is composed of Senegalese artists Diali Keba Cissokho (vocals and kora) and Tabou Diop (vocals and guitar), and North Carolina artists Jason Lentz (electric guitar), Peter Kimosh (bass), Joe MacPhail (keyboards), Austin McCall (drums) and Will Ridenour (percussion). 

The band formed in North Carolina in January of 2011 and has produced three full length albums, toured extensively in the United States and traveled twice as a band to Senegal. In 2014, Kaira Ba was nominated for the prestigious continent-wide All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA) in the category “Best African Group” for their album “The Great Peace.” In 2018, the band released its most ambitious album to date, “Routes,” which was recorded alongside a broad cast of guests in both North Carolina and Senegal. Kaira Ba has performed and taught at universities, appeared in front of festival audiences and shared stages with some of Africa’s most prominent international artists, including Angélique Kidjo, Vieux Farka Touré and the late Khaira Arby. 

In all its work, Kaira Ba is committed to sharing its story and music in the name of cross-cultural learning, believing that music has the power to transgress borders and serve as an important resource for education, restoration and healing.  

The CSC box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary University at 715 Grand Avenue, Hackettstown.