Artist Profiles: Seikou Susso

Seikou Susso

Seikou was born in 1964 in Sukuta Nanie in The Gambia. He is directly descended from a long line of jalis. As a boy he followed his father Jaliba Denbo Susso in the family tradition of learning to sing and play Kora as a jali. As a small boy Seikou would accompany his father on all his jali outings performing music and poetry.

His early musical training was learned sitting beside his father. Seikou was encouraged to keep time with the music by tapping on the calabash – the gourd which makes up the back body of the instrument. His mother is also from a jali family the “Kuyatehs. Her name is Hagar Jal-fill Kuyateh. Seikou has a brother and sister. His sister Debar Susso, is a well known singer in West Africa.

As a young man Seiko’s skill as a performer took him to many places. He performed in tourist hotels, gatherings of elders and community events such as marriages and naming ceremonies. Seiko represented his country at festivals and to promote tourism for his country in Helsinki and in Vienna.

In 1991, he arrived to England and has worked with musicians of many other cultures. Seikou finds this experience very stimulating. He’s adapted his music to play with other instruments such as piano, violins, harp, cello and keyboard.

Seikou teaches workshops, including kora workshops one to one or group sessions, solo kora performance, kora and bass guitar duo, and children’s storytelling with Kora.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. 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.

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