Griot Heritage and Innovation

Sona Jobarteh - Fasiya
Sona Jobarteh

Fasiya (West African Guild Records, 2011)

Gambian musician and vocalist Sona Jobarteh is a pioneer in the world of kora playing. Until recently, the kora was only taught to males and she is one of the few female virtuosos playing the ancient musical instrument. Although Sona uses the kora throughout her new album, titled Fasiya, the recording also features Sona as a sensational vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist on guitar, bass and percussion.

Fasiya (heritage) skillfully combines the West African jali (griot) tradition with an outstanding mix of African beats, laid back blues and Afropop elements. Sona Jobarteh is joined by a cast of renowned West African musicians, including Juldeh Camara on the evocative nyanyeru fiddle, Sankung Jobarteh on guitar, Femi Temowo on electric guitar, Baba Gallé Kante on Fulani flute, Babacar Dieng on jembe, sabar and bugarabu, and Surahata Susso on congas.

Sona Jobarteh sings about tradition, Africa and the ancestors in Malinké, Mandinka and Bambara. Her mesmerizing original lyrics are translated to English in the CD booklet.

Sona Jobarteh is the first female kora master from the famed West African Jobarteh (also known as Diabate in other countries) griot family, coming from a long line of hereditary musicians. She is the granddaughter of the master jali Amadu Bansang Jobarteh and cousin to the celebrated kora maestro Toumani Diabaté.

Fasiya is an irresistible and quintessentially beautiful album by one of the most exciting new artists in the West African music scene.

Buy the album from

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *