SMI debuts a new feature called “Around The World,” in which SMI guest contributor Christina Leiva explores the world music scene in and around the Puget Sound.
Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate, two incredibly talented musicians, gave a spectacular performance at The Triple Door Wednesday that left the audience wanting more. Driscoll, a native New Yorker, and Kouyate, who hails from Guinea in West Africa, have created an eclectic blend of hip-hop, rock, spoken word and Afrobeat reggae with melodious African grooves.
Driscoll is a rapper and songwriter whose fiery rapping skills fluidly bounce off the warm melodic rhythms of Kouyate’s magical kora. They feed off one another – blending genres together with ease. It’s a beautiful example of the power of music and its ability to break cultural barriers.
Known in France as the “Jimi Hendrix of the Kora” – Kouyate plays the unique ancient 21-string harp-like instrument heavily used in West Africa. His complex finger work on the electric kora is mesmerizing, as if the instrument is an extension of his soul.
Driscoll has been inspired by such artists as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Dela Soul. He is a multi-faceted artist who plays the guitar, harmonica, and has a special talent for creating beatbox rhythms with his didgeridoo.
Kouyate speaks little English and Driscoll little French, so music bridges their language gap, which allows them to communicate and thus create their distinctive and inspiring songs. The pair met at the Nuit Metis in France and later created their first album, Faya. (Click Here for a free download of the duo’s release of the title track.) Many of the lyrics on the album address social issues such as poverty and immigration. According to Driscoll, they “wrote about things that we knew and experienced, things that were important to us. We’ve both traveled the world extensively, so dealing with these issues were very important to us.” In their song “Passport,” the lyrics describe the power of music as a passport that opens doors, inspires and motivates us to love.
Music is my passport. It’s what helps me move ahead. You see this is the reason that I love. It’s what inspires me. You see, this is the reason that I love. It has given me work. It has introduced me to each and every thing.