Yacouba Sissoko was born in Kita, Mali, to a well-known djely family. Djelys for centuries they have been the traditional musicians and keepers of the factual history and fables of past rulers, nobles, social groups and families. The kora was the traditional instrument that djelys played.

Yacouba regularly performs for cultural programs and benefit concerts. In recognition of his commitment to educating others  he was selected as a Teaching Artist by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and returned again to Carnegie Hall in 2016 and 2019 as a featured artist in the Musical Explorers Program in New York, NY and Savannah, GA.

Yacouba continues to blend effortlessly with other musical styles, whether it is performing Indian ragas or Appalachian tunes. Yacouba can be seen regularly touring with Regina Carter, Rachel Brown, Jordana de Lovely, Oran Etkin, Kavita Shah, Benyoro and his own band SIYA.