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3 Musicians, 51 Strings: 3MA on Redefining African Musical Traditions

While a recent TSA mishap may have garnered Ballake Sissoko his latest 15 minutes of fame, his musical collaboration with 3MA is affording him acclaim of the lasting kind. In this video interview with NPR, the three musicians that form 3MA discuss the differing influences that each bring to the studio, and how it results in a fusion that defies slotting into any one genre. 3MA stands for Madagascar, Mali and Maroc — Morocco in French — and the band is comprised of three musicians from three different African nations playing three different stringed instruments. Rajery is from Madagascar and plays an instrument called the valiha; the second “m” is for Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko and oud player Driss El Maloumi is the Moroccan.