Ballaké Sissoko descends from a noble line of Malian musicians. His father, the kora master Djelimady Sissoko, was a founding member and later director of the Ensemble Instrumental du Mali. Following in his footsteps, Ballaké took up the venerable string instrument, and when he was 13, joined his father's orchestra. In 1991, he toured with the griotte singer Kandia Kouyaté. Six years later, he put out his debut disc, Kora Music from Mali. Then, in 1999, in collaboration with fellow Malian Toumani Diabaté, he released New Ancient Strings, and followed up with a number of experiments with musicians from a variety of horizons. Chamber Music (2009), for example, is the result of a meeting with the French cellist Vincent Ségal.