Tag Archives: Sona Jobarteh

Gambian Kora Pioneer and Griot Sona Jobarteh to Perform at The ArtsCenter

Sona Jobarteh, the first female kora virtuosa from a legendary jali (griot) family is set to perform at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Caroilina. Sona is the granddaughter of influential Gambian kora master Amadu Bansang Jobarteh.

Born in London and classically trained at the Royal College of Music and the Purcell School, Sona Jobarteh is a member of the Jobartehs (also kown as Diabates in other countries), one of the five major kora-playing jali families from West Africa and the first female member of such a family to rise to fame on this instrument. The kora is a 21-stringed African harp and is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau). The kora is traditionally a hereditary musical instrument performed by griot families.

 

Sona Jobarteh

 

The kora was solely passed down from father to son. Sona Jobarteh has become the first woman to take up this instrument professionally in a male tradition that dates back over seven centuries.
Sona is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, with an idiosyncratic vocal style and charismatic on stage.

She has quickly risen to international fame in the world music scene after the release of her much-admired album Fasiya (Heritage), released in 2011. In recent years, Sona has headlined major festivals around the world in Brazil, India, South Korea, Ghana, Mexico, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Lithuania, Poland and Malaysia, including a recent performance at the North Carolina Folk Festival in Greensboro.

In addition to her work as performing artists, Sona composed the music for the documentary film Motherland in 2009, constructing a unique mix of European and African sounds, and even going so far as to invent a new instrument, the nkoni (a cross between the kora and the donso ngoni). She teaches the kora in London, and worked with her father, Sanjally Jobarteh, in building a formal music school in the Gambia named after her famous grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh.

The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro. For more information go to artscenterlive.org.

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Artist Profiles: Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh

Maya Sona Jobarteh was born in London in 1983. She is the first professional female kora player. Sona is part of the Jobarteh/Diabaté family of jelis (griots), one of the five major kora-playing jeli families from West Africa.

She is the granddaughter of the master jeli musician Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, who migrated from Mali to the Gambia. Her cousin is the well-known, celebrated Kora player Toumani Diabaté. Her mother is English.

A virtuoso kora player, Sona Jobarteh is a modern day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries. The British-Gambian artist has modernized the presentation of kora music and brings a rhythmic approach to her compositions that fits with her remarkable voice.

Discography:

Afro Acoustic Soul (Sona Soul Records, 2008)
Motherland: The Score (African Guild Records, 2010)
Fasiya (African Guild Records, 2011)

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Artist profiles: Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh was born in London in 1983. She is the first female kora virtuoso from the prestigious West African Jobarteh jeli (griot) family coming from a long line of hereditary musicians. She is the granddaughter of the master jeli Amadu Bansang Jobarteh and cousin to the celebrated kora maestro Toumani Diabate.

In her teenage years, Sona attended the Royal College of Music, the Purcell School of Music and worked on several orchestral projects including the ‘River of Sound’ with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She also performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Britten Sinfonia Milton Keynes City Orchestra and the Viva Chamber Orchestra, Toumani Diabate, Damon Albarn, Oumou Sangare, Kasse Mady Diabate, Sambou Suso, Juldeh Camara to name just a few. She also composed music for the film,Motherland: The Score” for the multi-award winning film Motherland.

Sona Jobarteh released her album Fasiya (West African Guild Records) in 2011. Fasiya includes renowned West African musicians such as Juldeh Camara Sankung Jobarteh Femi Temowo Baba Galle Kante Babacar Dieng and Surahata Susso.

Discography

Music of the Diaspora (5 Years Later Soundtrack) – (Souljazzfunk 2006)
Afro Acoustic Soul (Sona Soul Records 2008)
Motherland: The Score (African Guild Records 2010)
Fasiya (African Guild Records 2011)

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Africa Oyé Festival Begins Today at Liverpool’s Sefton Park

Africa Oye, the UK’s biggest free festival of music and culture from Africa and the Diaspora, will take place at Sefton Park on June 18th and 19th, from 12:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. both days.

The artists performing this year include D.R. Congo’s genre-bending Mbongwana Star; Ghanaian highlife legend, Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band; and kora-playing pioneer, Sona Jobarteh.

Introduced for the first time at last year’s event, the ‘Oyé Introduces’ showcase will see local talent kick off both days of the festival, giving some of the area’s brightest artists the chance to share the stage with the ever-eclectic international Oyé line-up. This year’s chosen acts include Liverpool’s own jazz and soul star, XamVolo as well as Mamadou Diaw, a master drummer from Senegal now based in the city and Rimka, whose unique sabar beat dance music will kick off the festival in style on Saturday.

The main stage acts will be complemented by the usual eclectic ‘Oyé Village’ featuring an array of foods from across the globe, traders, DJs, dance classes, the Afrobeats tent, workshops in the Active Zone, as well as kids entertainment to keep Sefton Park buzzing throughout the festival weekend.

Africa Oyé is funded by Arts Council England & Liverpool City Council.

Africa Oyé 2016: Line-Up
(times subject to change)

Saturday, June 18th

RIMKA – 12:30 till 13:00
Xam Volo – 13:20 till 13:50
Kreative Kaos (Community Performance) – 13:55 til 14:05
Saidi Kanda & Mvulu Mandondo – 14:15 til 15:25
Wesli – 15:45 till 16:55
Akala – 17:15 till 18:25
Damily – 18:45 till 19:55
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band – 20:15 till 21:30

Sunday, June 19th

Mamadou & The Super Libidor Band – 12:30 till 13:00
Randy Valentine (with Sherii Ven Dyer) – 13:20 till 14:20
Katumba (Community Performance) – 14:20 till 14:30
Sona Jobarteh – 14:45 till 16:00
Bilan – 16:20 till 17:35
Baloji – 18:05 till 19:20
Mbongwana Star – 19:45 till 21:00

Main Stage DJs

DJ Edu
Esa Williams

Africa Oyé 2016
Sefton Park, Liverpool
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016
12:30pm – 9:30pm both days / Admission: Free

For more information, please visit africaoye.com

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