Our special Lotus at 20 series kicks off with a concert of elegant simplicity: “Chamber Music” is a collaboration between Ballake Sissoko, who plays the kora, a lute-harp from Mali, and Vincent Segal, a French cellist who plays for the trip-hop band Bumcello. Proceeds from this event — and all Lotus at 20 events — benefit the Lotus-Fitzgerald Endowment Fund.
Tickets: $15 general / $10 seniors 62+; children 12 and younger / $10 students • Online at bctboxoffice.com or at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater box office, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington; 812-323-3020
Time: 7:30 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.)
Venue: First Christian Church (205 E. Kirkwood Ave.)
At a time when cross-cultural music has tended toward electric pop and dance music, Sissoke and Segal remind us that there is room for something quieter. Perhaps the combination of kora and cello works so well because there are no expectations for it. This collaboration grew out of a personal friendship, and at no point was there an attempt to produce a project that would be slick, hip, and commercial. The cello, of course, is not a traditional African instrument. But Chamber Music, in its depth of feeling and variety of moods, is authentically African. The kora may not appear in the duos, trios, or quartets of Beethoven, Schumann, or Brahms, but the obvious musical and personal connection between Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal also marks this as an organic, authentic, and original kind of chamber music.
“At times playing in unison, more often in counterpoint to one another, the two sets of strings create complex rhythmic patterns that are sometimes hypnotic, elsewhere energizing, and always engaging.” – Pop Matters