Jali - Musician, Storyteller, Peace Builder

In the Mandinka culture and society of West Africa, the jali is a musical artisan whose main role is to convey stories and create understanding between people through music.

Sousou & Maher Cissoko see themselves as a part of a new generation of jalis in the world. In a time characterized by widening gaps between “us” and “them,” they devote their music to the task of bringing communities together and telling stories for all to share.

A jali’s different roles as musician, praise singer, storyteller, advisor, mediator and peace maker are under constant development and change, depending on what context s/he is in. This spirit of cultural renewal is something that Sousou & Maher explore constantly by finding their own way in the path of the jaliya – the art of the griot. The role of the jali today is as important as ever and Sousou & Maher are dedicated to creating connections rather than building barfiers. They want people to come together through music and love.