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Different roots, shared passions: 3MA

Blog
Different roots, shared passions: 3MA

30.11.2018

Text: Cem Kayıran
Illustration: Saydan Akşit
Translation: Yetkin Nural

3MA, formed by three virtuoso musicians from different African countries, is a passionate project that redefines what a ‘‘supergroup’’ is. Valiha player Rajery from Madagascar, Moroccan oud master Driss El Maloumi and Malian kora artist Ballaké Sissoko will be giving a special performance Akbank Sanat stage on 5 December with their band 3MA.

The band, which dates back to 2006, melts their passion for and their characteristic approach to melodies and sounds in one pot. Despite their different musical traditions and backgrounds, 3MA’s indisputable harmony on stage makes listening to them an inspiring experience. After their debut album in 2008, 3MA members took some time apart for their solo careers, coming together only for sparse live performances. Their second album, Anarouz, which features various guest musicians, came last year from Mad Minute Music.

All of the members’ music journeys have their own characteristic turning points. Rajery, who lost his right hand when he was a child, overcame this obstacle and became a master at valiha, which is a type of harp. The musician has been playing the local instrument on various stages over 35 years, and has been taking part in projects on a global level since 25 years.

After graduating from Agadir Conservatory of Music, Driss El Maloumi has done many solo recordings and took part in duo and trio projects with his masterful oud skills. Maloumi, who has worked with names from different countries like such as Paolo Fresu and Debashish Battacharya, holds a teaching position at the conservatory he graduated from. Maloumi formed 3MA together with Rajery and is also an important member of Jordi Savall’s The Hespèrion XXI.

The third and final member of the trio, Ballaké Sissoko, is also a master of the Malian instrument kora, which he secretly studied with traditional griots because of his father’s disproval of his interest in music. Sissoko worked with his cousin on his debut record New Ancient Strings and gave tribute to his family’s musical background. The musician has taken part in numerous album and stage projects since 1997, creating great collaborations with names like Ludovico Einaudi and Vincent Segal. Sissoko is also a member of Instrumental Ensemble of Mali, which performs very frequently in both Europe and Africa.

In the latest album of 3MA, Anarouz, which ranked high in last year’s ‘‘World Music’’ lists by various prestigious music media, it is possible to hear the rhythms of Moroccan percussionist Khalid Kouhen as well as the trio singing in two songs.

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