Motéma Music to Release "FlamenKora" Featuring Volker Goetze, Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko, and Alejandro Moreno

Article Contributed by JP Cutler Media | Published on Monday, March 20, 2023

Motéma Music, now celebrating its 20th year as one of the world's premier jazz/world labels, will release FlamenKora, a self-titled debut album from a new trio that unites West African Mande music with authentic Spanish flamenco guitar and American and Euro jazz trumpet to create a transglobal collaboration unlike any other. FlamenKora features German-born, New York-based trumpeter Volker Goetze, Senegalese born, Paris-based kora master and vocalist Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko, with the rising Madrid flamenco guitar sensation, Alejandro Moreno. Following a series of sold-out shows in Europe, FlamenKora will introduce their cross-genre global music to the masses with their Motéma release on Friday, June 9, 2023.

FlamenKora first took root during Pandemic lock-down times, when renowned trumpet player and composer Volker Goetze immersed himself in writing sessions while studying virtually with the esteemed Madrid flamenco maestro Enrique Vargas (Les Paul, Paco De Lucia). Goetze had met Alejandro Moreno at the Theatro Flamenco Madrid in 2018 and the two later performed together in Salzburg, Austria during the "Zwischenräume" Festival (2020). "Studying deeply with Vargas, flamenco became an obsession," Volker explains.

In 2021, Volker struck up a collaboration with Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko and they recorded together as a duo in Paris (that fine album is slated for release on Motéma in 2024). It was during those Paris sessions that the trumpeter first explored incorporating flamenco scales and phrasing derived from the Arabic maqam tradition into his sound. Delighting in how well the Mande and Flamenco traditions effortlessly and beautifully danced together, Volker invited Alejandro to join the duo for a residency at the Jazz & The City festival (Salzburg), where they played to sold-out houses with ovations, and the programmers of the Budapest Music Center discovered the ensemble and booked them for a concert the following year. As the magic of their collaboration was clear, the group found time to record FlamenKora in Cologne in March 2022.

Volker, who manages, produces and recorded the group, relates, "from touring the world for 12 years with kora master Ablaye Cissoko, recording our three duo albums and directing GRIOT (a film I produced about Ablaye's life), I discovered so many subtleties in Mande music which I recently realized also includes some of the deepest African roots of flamenco." He explains further that, "these music traditions have evolved separately for centuries until legendary artists Miles Davis, Paco De Lucia, and Chick Corea introduced the styles to American jazz. This debut is a very special moment for us as, through FlamenKora, we are having an opportunity to extend the work of these jazz masters. It’s the beginning of a grand new adventure."

Volker's decades-long investigation into Mande music via his film (GRIOT), his successful albums with Ablaye Cissoko (Sira, Amanki Dionti, Djalya), and via transposing West African Fulani Flute melodies to the trumpet along with his recent dive into flamenco, led him to look beyond the constructs of traditional music and develop a sound that's entirely new with FlamenKora. The group pays respect to the origins of the 16th century kora, while fueling it with the fiery passion of flamenco, and refining it with the sophistication of jazz. At its core, FlamenKora is a sound of love, relaxation, and spirituality that is pure joy for listeners' ears.

"FlamenKora opens up possibilities for future generations," says trio member Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko. "For Africa, Europe, the Americas...this is a new departure for the kora. Tradition remains, but we are free to explore and create." Guitarist Alejandro Moreno adds, "FlamenKora has an original character. Ali's voice and kora bring a strong energy charge while the warmth of the guitar and power of the trumpet create a great contrast that gracefully coalesces together." The album drops June 9 with singles "Wa Sant Yalla" out on April 14 and "Sadier" on May 12. Tour dates t.b.a. Find further band bio information below.

Volker Goetze
Artist, composer and trumpeter Volker Goetze is renowned for his work bringing folkloric cultures into the jazz idiom. Goetze has extensively toured and recorded with Senegalese Griot and kora master Ablaye Cissoko and directed a feature-length documentary GRIOT about the life of Cissoko. GRIOT received rave reviews from The Globe and Mail UK (“Stunningly Beautiful”) and African News ("A Must-See Film"). Volker's albums with Ablaye have garnered over 20 million streams worldwide and international acclaim with PRI "The World" naming Amanke Dionti "Best World Music Album (2012)." Volker also produced New York City's first Sound Sculpture Walk (Sonic Gates). For more info, please visit

Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko
Paris-based Mande Griot Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko is said to have been born "with the kora in his hands." A native of Dakar, Senegal, he is a nephew of Soundioulou Cissokho "The King of the Kora." Ali Boulo Santo's magical playing and singing have attracted collaborations with luminaries such as Tony Allen, Omar Sosa, Piers Faccini, Trilok Gurtu, and many others. He co-composed the musical "Kirikou and Karaba" with Youssou N'dour, Angélique Kijo, and Tété. Ali Boulo Santo is acclaimed for combining Mandingo music with Senegalese and Western influences.

Alejandro Moreno
Born in Madrid, Alejandro Moreno is a disciple of flamenco maestro Enrique Vargas. Alejandro began his professional career at the age of 16 in the various flamenco tablaos, colmaos, concert halls, and theaters of the Madrid capital. He collaborates with artists including Marco Flores, Manuel Reyes, Karen Lugo, Mariana Collado, Hugo López, Luis Peña, and Pedro Córdoba. Alejandro is currently among the most influential tablaos in Madrid such as Villa Rosa, Casa Patas, Las Carboneras, Torres Bermejas, and Teatro Flamenco de Madrid.