Classically trained and soulfully syncopated, singer/songwriter Kilissa Cissoko is a veteran of the indie music scene of Buffalo. Highly tuneful and rhythmic, her music is rooted in folk, rock, jazz, classical and musical theater. Her observant lyrics strike a balance of candid wit and emotional honesty.
Upon receiving her BFA in Music Performance at SUNY Buffalo, Kilissa Cissoko performed with the acclaimed acoustic duo The Jazzabels —notably as the opening band for Ani DiFranco's very first tape release party.
In the 1990’s the duo toured the USA and abroad performing in renown venues including Kerrville Folk Festival (Texas), NxNE (Toronto), The Bitter End (NYC), CBGB Lounge (NYC), Club Passim (Boston), The Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago), Skippers (Tampa), the Tri-National Music Festival (Michoacán, Mexico) ...and more.
The Jazzabels released three albums, garnering reviews in national publications such as Sing Out! and Performing Songwriter.d where you started playing together.
After a hiatus for motherhood, Cissoko returned to the stage as a solo artist including performances at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, the Mamapalooza Festival, Nietzsche's, Ujima Theater, and WBFO 88.7 radio, as well as a variety of cafes and community events. She performed with other groups, the Dreadbeats (reggae), the BTVs (rock) and the Voice of Cheez (Frank Zappa Tribute).
In August 2008 she received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant to perform at the Zappanale Festival in Bad Doberan, Germany. In 2009, at the Buffalo Infringement Festival, she premiered a workshop of her “Airport Musical” based on the trip to Germany. She continues to develop this full-scale musical theater work composing music, lyrics and booke approach to music.