Kilissa Cissoko
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Kilissa Cissoko

Buffalo, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Buffalo, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fellowship Award"

Killissa Cissoko
Throughout the 1990’s, Killissa Cissoko worked to found and build the non-profit Musicians United for Superior Education in Buffalo, NY, working with dozens of schools and community centers, and involving thousands of students in African, Afro-Latin and African-American music and dance. Now a full-time music teacher, K- 4th grade, she will use her Jubilation Fellowship to document the work she does with her 800 students, mostly minority, mostly low-income, including student work in the classroom, peer to peer activities, and varied performances. She believes that despite the fragmentation of our mass-mediated society, “people still have a fundamental and visceral need to come together around a common groove, to sing along with a song....”
- Jubilation Foundation

"Interview: Infringement Festival"

Infringement Festival celebrates art on the outskirts; Creative experimentation finds a welcoming home at the Buffalo
Infringement Festival

By Elizabeth Simins
News Staff Reporter
Updated: July 17, 2009, 8:48 AM /

Take any kind of art, add every kind of artist, throw it all together in Allentown, and you have the Buffalo Infringement Festival.

The Infringement Festival may have originated underground, but in the years since its inception in 2005, it has blossomed beyond all imagining. This year, a few of the festival's colorful characters took some time to tell us about what inspires them, how to be more than just a spectator and canine undergarments...

Kilissa Cissoko, "JFK, The Musical' (workshop)

"I already have the songs and the choreography in my head," says Kilissa Cissoko. "I just need bodies."

It was after a 36-hour layover in JFK Airport that Cissoko had an epiphany: She should write a musical about this. But, as she put it, the strange part wasn't that she decided to write a musical — it was that she actually followed through with it.

"JFK, The Musical" tells the story of the various quirky people whom Cissoko got to know throughout the lengthy wait for her plane. Each song is a character portrait, she says, and each is in a different musical style, ranging from disco to a love ballad.

Cissoko isn't the first person to write a musical based on her experiences. What makes the Infringement Festival performance of "JFK" unique is the workshop aspect. During the festival, Cissoko will be staging the first-ever performance of "JFK" — and anyone is welcome to be part of it.

"The audience will be the event," Cissoko says. Aspiring actors, actresses and crew people take note: If you put in the work and the enthusiasm, Cissoko may keep you on for the non-workshop version of "JFK": "I'm going to tell people there's no guarantee, obviously, but some people might be really motivated."

The workshop is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. July 30 in the Gateway Gallery (141 Elmwood Ave.).

© 2009 The Buffalo News.
- The Buffalo News

"Rave Reviews"

Thanks for your fabulous performance. We got rave reviews.

Women's Gifts Festival
November 2009
Buffalo, NY - Asbury Hall @ Babeville - Womens' Gifts Festival

"French Web Review"

Quitte à paraître un peu trop French, applaudissons ici la freedom dance complètement torride de Kilissa Cissoko. Kilissa, du groupe Voice of Cheez, jouait du sax et des claviers au sein du collectif de musiciens américains Anti Agressive Action Band qui ouvrit la Zappanale d'août dernier.

Close to seeming a little too French, here we applaud the completely scorching freedom dance of Kilissa Cissoko. Kilissa, from the group Voice of Cheez, played the sax and keyboards in the collective American musicians Anti Aggressive Action Band that opened the Zappanale last August.

- Les Fils de L'Invention

"Excellent Rating!"

I don't give out 4's and 5's easily, so any of those you see, you have earned. Well done!

"1" Indicates the Lowest Score
"5" Indicates The Highest Score

Recording Quality/Production: 3.5 to 4
Lead Vocals: 4 to 4.5
Musicianship: 4
Lyric Writing: 4.5
Music Composing: 4
Melodies: 5
Song Arrangement: 4

—Eugene Foley - Eugene Foley Entertainment

"Podcast Review"

"Kilissa's music is as rhythmic as her name..." —Roxanne Amico, Radio Roxanne - Radio Roxanne

"Ujima Theater Company"

Thank you, thank you, thank you for last night! You were fabulous.
It has been a pleasure working with you.
Lets keep in touch. Let me know if there's anything I can do.

Rahwa Ghirmatzion
Executive Director
Ujima Company, Inc.
545 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 883-4232(admin.)
(716) 883-0380 (box office)
(716) 882-4960 (fax)

RE: Performance January 17, 2008

- Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director

"Fan Reviews"

Facebook Fan Reviews for Kilissa Cisoko's Mamapalooza Concert (May 15, 2009), featuring the song, "Is It Wrong?" uploaded to YouTube.


Fan Reviews: May 2009

Clare sent a message in reply to a thread.

Re: Is It Wrong

"Your playing blew me away. Your music compositions are very complex.I can see how hard you have been working at the piano."

Linda sent a message in reply to a thread.

Re: Is It Wrong

"great work are really honing in on your skills, and should take great pride in your work!. congratulations!"

Wendy sent you a message.

Re: Is It Wrong

no, it is not wrong.

you are so good. keep it up!

love, w. & xie xie

Robert made a comment about your link:

"French cabaret with a little extra funk! ;-)"

Katherine made a comment about your link:

"I love this song, sound like an beautiful!!! I love the little commentary and breakaway shots here and there from [your son].....he is (ahem) hilarious."

Elizabeth sent a message in reply to a thread.

Re: Is It Wrong

"Oh, sweetie -- I miss going to see you sing! I like your videographer's esoteric style . . ."

David made a comment about your link:

"Awesome! No, it isn't wrong."

Allan sent a message in reply to a thread.

Re: Is It Wrong

"Hey, Kilissa. Great stuff! So, where can I get the album. :)"

Andrew sent a message in reply to a thread.

Re: Is It Wrong

"Never ever wrong."

Glen has made a comment on Superhuman:

love the vocals. nice work!


Kathy wrote on your Wall:

"By the way, been perusing your videos on youtube. May I just say, you are so gutsy -- as a performer, as a composer. And you always bring such joy and passion into your moments in music. I think I've been a fan of your writing since day one. I really like lyrics, the way you construct tunes. But most of all, your music leaves me fundamentally hopeful. I so appreciate that."

---------------------------------------- - Internet


Why Go To Work When You Can Play? (solo, 1988)
Come Hell or High Harmonies (the Jazzabels, 1990)
Café All Day (The Jazzabels, 1994)
Skyway (The Jazzabels, 1996)
Super Sexy Girlfriend (solo, 2005)
Unplugged (solo, 2007)
Airport Musical (Script and Music, 2009)
The Lost Tapes (solo, 1998/2011)

Kilissa's song "Oh Life" is featured on Buffalo radio station 107.7 FM The Lake's Fourth Local CD #4 (2008)

Pre-Release tracks from Kilissa Cissoko's upcoming independent solo cd have already been featured on 107.7 FM The Lake (Buffalo, NY), and Podcasts: Nette Radio, Feminine Groove, and RubyFruit Radio.

Kilissa's folk/acoustic duo, the Jazzabels, was reviewed in CMJ, Performing Song Writer, Dirty Linen, Sing Out! and various newspapers and zines in the USA and Canada.



Classically trained and soulfully syncopated, Kilissa Cissoko is a tuneful and observant songwriter with comparisons to Carole King and Adele.

Originally from Baltimore and raised in Chicago, Kilissa now makes her home in Buffalo, NY. In the 1990's she worked as an independent songwriter and performing artist with a variety of groups and was featured at major venues and festivals in the US and abroad. After a hiatus for motherhood, she is currently writing and recording material as a solo artist and is developing a new work for musical theater.

Also an innovative music educator, Cissoko earned her BFA and EdM degrees in music from the State University of New York. She was Executive Director of the MUSE Artists in Education program, founded the Tiny Tunes Early Childhood Music Program, and currently teaches Elementary Music (K-4) in the Buffalo Public Schools. She serves as a mentor teacher and curriculum writer for the district. Her focus is on Creativity in Music Education.

Kilissa has a gift for melody and a razor sharp skill for honing compelling lyrics. Her music blends many influences and as a performer she naturally engages the audience.

Band Members