Artist Profiles: Sherrifo Konteh

Sherrifo Konteh

Sherrifo Konteh is the son of Alhaji Bai Konte and the brother of Dembo Konte, Sherrifo learned from both and has become an outstanding musician in his own right.

He was born in Brikama, the Gambia, where he still lives. Sherrifo comes from one the most famous of the jali families from a town that is the home of many jalis families. As most jalis, he was introduced to music at an early age. His father taught him how to play the kora at the age of six.

Sherrifo went from playing traditional songs to composing his own pieces with a traditional feel. In his early twenties he joined a band called Kangbeng that got relevant radio airplay, but he was never paid for his work. He now makes a living the traditional jali way, by playing at naming ceremonies, weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations.

All his life Sherrifo has been steeped in this rich tradition. As most jalis, he makes his own instruments. He has a highly developed and inventive technique playing the kora which scintillates and sparkles and compliments his commanding singing. Some of his songs reflect the long tradition that he is a continuing part of others comment on contemporary social mores. He performs them all with a passion and commitment that make them truly engaging listening.

Discography:

Mansalou: The Great Kings of Africa (Compound Sounds)
Chesano (2004)

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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