West Africa

members of diali cissokho and kaira ba
Courtesy of Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba

Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba have long had a dream of traveling to Senegal to record an album. This year they made it happen. The band just returned from M’bour, Cissokho’s hometown and the city where his family still maintains a large compound open to musical relatives and friends. 

Courtesy of Africa Unplugged

The music of Africa Unplugged harkens back to the African diaspora. The Greensboro-based group channels jazz and funk, while still maintaining roots in West African traditions. 

Courtesy Cliff Missen

People with few means but big hearts stepped in to help Cliff Missen as he transitioned in and out of foster care as a child. When he turned 18, Missen made a vow to pay it forward and live a life in ​service of the poor. He made good on that promise when he brought well-drilling technology to rural villages in Liberia and an information technology program to Joss, Nigeria.

Image of South African guitarist Derek Gripper
Coutesy of Derek Gripper

South African musician Derek Gripper has been playing classical music since he was 6-years-old. But after years of studying in Cape Town, he felt uninspired by the classical guitar repertoire available to him, so he set off on a journey to discover musical inspiration from around the world. He traveled first to South India, and then explored Brazilian music before he happened upon the instrument that changed the direction of his career: the kora.