CNY Arts, Inc.


West African Master Musician, Yacouba Sissoko, Performs at Kirkland Art Center and Clinton Central Schools

Clinton, NY — The Kirkland Art Center will welcome world-renowned West African musician Yacouba Sissoko to the KAC Live stage for a special concert on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 pm after he spends the day sharing his music and stories with students at Clinton Central Schools in their “Clinton Out Loud!” event. Yacouba is a master kora player who will be joined by Moussa Diabate on n'goni (strings) and Alagie Saho on djembe (drums).

Yacouba Sissoko’s music is from the djely tradition in his homeland of Mali. Now based in New York City, he has devoted his musical gift to expanding the awareness of West African history and culture, spreading the word of peace and empowering his listeners to take charge and realize their imagined futures. His performances enchant his audiences as he skillfully transforms traditional songs and stories that he learned from his forefathers into modern day messages of peace, love and harmony.

We’re so excited to introduce the community to Yacouba Sissoko, whose melodies emerge out of the musical storytelling traditions of Mali. This is something new and fabulous for the Kirkland Art Center – don’t miss it!”, urged KAC Executive Director, Anita Welych. Tickets ($20 general/$18 KAC Members) for the KAC Live concert with Yacouba Sissoko are available at or at the door.

Yacouba’s flexible virtuosity as a kora player, which enables him to move seamlessly from one musical genre to another, has attracted the attention of an eclectic mix of musicians who have sought him out as a collaborator. He has performed toured and recorded with well-known African musicians, such as Sidiki Conde (Tokounou), Abdoulaye Diabate, Baaba Maal, and Kakande, and with many famous Western musicians, such as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Leroy Jenkins and Leni Stern. Easily transitioning between jazz, pop, R&B, and classical music, Yacouba can be seen regularly with Regina Carter, Rachel Brown, Oran Etkin and Benyoro.

The special collaboration between the Kirkland Art Center and Clinton Middle School involves a performance by Yacouba at the school’s yearly literacy event "Clinton Out Loud!" along with other artists, poets, and performers. This event aims to ignite a passion for poetry, performance, and storytelling among students, all while celebrating the rich diversity of artistic expression. The community will be able to interact with the culminating poetic work, displayed around the gazebo in the Village Green, serving as a testament to the students' creativity and a means of sharing their voices with the wider community during the week of April 20-27.

"We are thrilled to welcome Yacouba Sissoko to Clinton Middle School for our 'Clinton Out Loud!' event”, said CCS English teacher Sarah Gaetano. “His presence will enrich our students' lives and inspire them to embrace their creativity and share their stories with the world. The collaboration between the Kirkland Art Center and the school exemplifies the art center’s commitment to community and service. It demonstrates their desire to uplift and empower through the transformative power of the arts."

Yacouba regularly performs for cultural programs like the “Clinton Out Loud!” event. In recognition of his commitment to educating others, he was selected as a Teaching Artist by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall in 2016 and, in 2019, as a featured artist in the Musical Explorers Program in New York, NY and Savannah, GA.

Tickets ($20 general/$18 KAC Members) for the KAC Live concert with Yacouba Sissoko are available at or at the door.

Located at 9 ½ East Park Row in Clinton, NY the Kirkland Art Center is a multi-arts community non-profit organization whose mission is to educate children and adults, to advocate for artists and the arts, and to engage the community in a range of cultural experiences and opportunities.