Tag Archives: Sona Jobarteh

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.


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


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.


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)


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