Greg Bell, the ERA’s festival director, said the event earned about $4,500 toward a total goal of $107,000, which will cover repairs to the association’s office space and surrounding environment after a sewage leak flooded the building in January.
“The $4,500 we raised at the ArtsCenter brings us that much closer to this goal, but moreover helps build community, raise spirits and raise additional donations due to the publicity this event engendered,” Bell said.
Cissokho, a native of Senegal, plays the kora, a West African string instrument, and headlines vocals. The group produces a sound that’s a mix of West African traditional, funk, rock, blues and jazz. Percussionist Will Ridenour said Kaira Ba’s music focuses on the kora.
“What we do is we take a traditional way of playing melodies and percussion, but we sort of develop them in a modern, sort of American, way,” he said.
Ridenour said Kaira Ba is familiar with the ERA and has played the festival for the Eno in the past.
“We’ve been doing (the festival) for a couple years, and there are people in the band that feel really strongly about supporting environmental justice causes, especially local ones, so this is the perfect opportunity to support that type of activism that’s happening in our own backyard,” he said.
Bell said the group chose Cissokho & Kaira Ba to play the dance party partially for weather-related reasons.
“We knew that we wanted a dance band, and we knew that we wanted something to offset the cold, so we thought something sort of tropical would be a good mix,” Bell said.