Etikettarkiv: kora

Lamine Cissokho kan bli årets artist

Lamine Cissokho är en rutinerad koraspelare från Casamance i södra Senegal. Han har bott i Sverige i många år och har nu, i samband med att hans andra skiva getts ut, blivit nominerad till Årets artist på Folk- & Världsmusikgalan som går av stapeln i Västerås i slutet av denna månad.

Grattis Lamine Cissokho till nomineringen som Årets artist! Hur känns detta?

Lamine Cissokho - Foto: Kiqi D Minteh/Afropé.se
Lamine Cissokho – Foto: Kiqi D Minteh/Afropé.se

– Det känns härligt, verkligen. Jag är glad att få chansen till denna utmärkelse från svenska folket och världsmusikbranschen. Jag har nu bott nästan 15 år här i Sverige och jag bär med stolthet både min senegalesiska och den svenska flaggan när jag spelar här i Sverige eller utomlands. Jag känner mig som en del av den svenska musikscenen nu och nomineringen ger mig en skön bekräftelse i detta. Jag hoppas att jag kan få ge den svenska publiken ännu mer i framtiden!

Din skiva Sama Tilo, som betyder ”mot källan” på svenska, släpptes förra året, efter en fin releasekonsert på Stallet i Stockholm.

Hur skulle du beskriva denna skiva?

– Denna skiva har mognat i mina tankar under några år tills jag fick möjlighet att göra den. Av elva låtar är tio mina egna kompositioner och arrangemang. På skivan har jag samlat många musiker vars musik passar fint med min. Min kora möter klarinett, oud, fiol, kontrabas, saxofon och så vidare. Min inspiration är fortfarande den västafrikanska musikvärlden men den är kryddad med svenska folkliga influenser, lite jazz och andra musikstilar som påverkat mig som artist. Sammantaget är det hela väldigt ”groovy”, som vanligt!

Skiljer Sama Tilo sig från det du tidigare gjort? I så fall hur?

Lamine Cissokho - Foto: Kiqi D Minteh/Thegambia.nu
Lamine Cissokho – Foto: Kiqi D Minteh/Thegambia.nu

– Sama Tilo skiljer sig ganska mycket från mitt första album Pakao. Sama Tilo är rikare när det gäller influenser från olika medmusiker och stilar. Jag tycker också att min röst har mognat, och jag sjunger mer på Sama Tilo än tidigare. Jag gillar sången mer och mer. I Sama Tilo finns det ett viktigt budskap till afrikanska ungdomar. Det handlar om deras ansvar för sin egen framtid. Jag utmanar dem att utbilda sig, arbeta, vara stolta över det de har och att tänka efter innan de korsar Atlanten och emigrerar till Europa.

Vilken är din egen favoritlåt från senaste skivan, vilken låt betyder mest för dig? Varför?

– Min favorit är Karanta, som på mandinka betyder platsen där man lär sig. För mig är den platsen lika med livet. Man lär sig hela livet och livet handlar nog mest om att kunna gå framåt och lära sig.
Karanta är en låt som man kan lyssna på hemma i soffan men även dansa till. Jag gillar just det att den låten har dessa olika sidor. Det är en känslosam låt också!

Om du vinner – hur kommer du att fira då?

– Inte med champagne … för jag dricker ju ingen alkohol, utan i så fall kommer jag att fira tillsammans med vänner och min fru – som är mycket involverad i vårt musikbolag Sewa Music. Vi stannar nog hemma, med fin mat och musik förstås!

Då återstår bara att önska Lamine Cissokho varmt lycka till. Galan går av stapeln i Västerås mellan 30 mars och 2 april. De nominerade i kategorin Årets artist är, förutom Lamine Cissokho, Bridget Marsden och Josefina Paulson.

Helena Svensson
Helena Svensson

KONSERT: Gambisk-svensk trio på Stallet i Stockholm

Vad passar bättre nu när höstmörkret smyger sig på än att gå på en konsert med gambisk kora blandat med piano och saxofon. För den som befinner sig i Stockholm den 22 oktober ges chansen till att se den gambisk-svenska trion bestående av Alagi M’bye, Arne Forsén och Jonas Knutsson på Stallet.

Skärmavbild från Stallet Folk & Världsmusik
Skärmavbild från Stallet Folk & Världsmusik

Alagi M´bye från Gambia kommer från en griotfamilj där bland annat hans pappa, farfar och farbröder alla varit kända sångare, koraspelare och traditionsbärare. Han har under sin karriär turnerat bland annat i Norden och driver en musikskola för barn och unga i Gambia, för att bevara denna berättartradition. Multimusikerna Arne Forsén och Jonas Knutsson som båda verkat mycket inom svensk folkmusik träffade Alagi M’bye under en resa till Senegal och sedan dess har de tre musikerna spelat tillsammans, både i Sverige och Gambia. Trion har nu släppt skivan Mansa Konko och bjuder därför in till skivsläppskonsert.

När: 22 oktober kl 19.00. Stallet och serveringen öppnar 18.00

Var: Stallet Folk & Världsmusik i Stockholm

Pris: 150 kr (100 kr medlemmar/studerande/pensionärer)

Biljetter: Köper Du HÄR

Anna Wedin
Anna Wedin

Int’l female kora icon looks back at career in 2014

It was a successful career for The Gambian-UK born international kora sensation, who today, is still one of very few widely known female player of the 21-string to have made a name for herself at the international scene.

Gambian-British, Sona Jobarteh, who became the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African griot family, continued to expand her global audience after she explored new frontiers in the preceded year.

The year saw the kora star and her band of experienced artistes touring three continents selling her genre of music to audiences she was meeting for the first time. The tours in South Korea in Asia; Italy and Portugal in Europe and Mexico in the Latin American had crowned Singer Jobarteh’s 2014 success stories.

But the year also was a big time deal for her dear project, which she is jointly developing with her father, Sanjally Jobarteh, a renowned master kora player himself. She devoted much energy and resources into this project – the Amadu Bansang Jobarteh School of Music, located at the cultural town of Kembujeh, just a few minutes’ drive from West Coast Region’s commercial city of Brikama. She used her band and influence to raise some funds for the school, which has since enrolled some students that are currently undergoing various stages of musical education.

In this one-on-one exclusive, Sona Jobarteh tells us her career and other related developments registered in 2014. But first, a brief look at her biography.

Breaking away from tradition, Sona 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. Born into one of the five principal West African griot families, Sona has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female. Her family carries a reputation for producing renowned Kora masters, one being her grandfather, Amadou Bansang Jobarteh (ABJ) who was a master griot and remains a leading icon in The Gambia’s cultural and musical history. Her cousin, Toumani Diabaté is also known worldwide for his mastery of the Kora. Taught to play the Kora at the age of four by her elder brother Tunde Jegede, Sona started her musical journey at a very young age. Sona was able to work alongside internationally acclaimed artistes such as Oumou Sangare, Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

 

sona 5Af: Thanks Sona for the interview once again. To begin with, I’m sure a lot of developments have taken place since the last time you were featured on this medium. Would you mind to share with us some of the steps in your career?

Sona: Thank you for the invitation to come once again to feature on this platform. Indeed a lot has happened since the last time. This year has focused on touring with my band around the world and we have had some amazing experiences. Also we held the first fundraiser event in London for the Amadu Bansang Jobarteh School of Music which was a great success and managed to raise the funds to cover the next project which will be starting in January 2015.

Af: October was a busy month for you having successfully toured countries in South America, Mexico to be precise, Italy and Portugal in Europe and South Korea in Asia. How was it like having to tour all these countries for performance in just one month?

Sona: It was a very challenging schedule, but an amazing success. The reception we had in Mexico and South Korea was phenomenal, and these were audiences that very rarely get to see African Music played live and for many it was actually the first time. So we felt so proud to be representing The Gambia so far afield and to give people an experience that they will remember.

 

Af: Tell us more about your experience in Mexico? First time I guess!

Sona: Yes, the first time in Mexico for us to perform. We had a string of shows in the major cities across Mexico. Again many of the audiences had not had the opportunity to come and listen to African music live so they were so excited very passionate about us. We had people follow us from one city to another just to see us performing a second time. It was amazing having thousands of people singing along with the music – in a language they didn’t understand but felt so connected to. Bannaya and Musow were definitely the favourite songs among the Mexican audiences.

 

Af: One of the amazing pictures to have come from your Mexico tour was the scramble by your fans for your signature. What was the feeling like having to be approached by fans you were meeting for the first time?

Sona: This was a crazy experience and at times quite scary as so many people were fighting to get their cds signed and I could not possibly manage to do it for everyone who wanted it. I would go into the dressing rooms to wait for the audience to leave but they would just stay there chanting “Sona… Sona…” until I would come back out. It was very touching for me, as I know many of these people have heard my music for the first time at my performance and are expressing the way they feel about the music. The fans in Mexico showed us so much love, it was a very humbling experience, and makes you understand the real power music has to cross borders and speak to anyone anywhere in the world.

 

Af: How was the experience in South Korea? What was the general reaction to your music in these countries?

Sona: In Korea the audiences were so different to those of Mexico. The Mexicans are very outgoing, relaxed and expressive, but the Koreans by contrast are very reserved people. I knew this before going out on stage to perform to them, and for me it was my mission to do what I was told was the impossible – to get the Korean audience dancing on their feet. And we managed it – we had the whole audience up on their feet dancing and singing back the words of Musow to us. It was brilliant!

 

sona jobartehAf: Performing in these kinds of great shows requires a team of dedicated band members. What’s the composition of your band and what’s the experience like in playing for people with totally different cultures?

Sona: I’m definitely lucky to have a great band full of very experienced musicians. I have band members from Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica and Senegal and the band is made up of guitars, percussion, drum kit, and bass in addition to my Kora and vocals. I think the fact that are diverse gives us an edge which audiences from different cultures can relate to. But most importantly I think it’s the expertise of the individuals I have in the band that gives us a powerful lineup that makes us equipped to play to people from anywhere in the world.

 

Af: Sona let’s talking about your school in The Gambia, which is also moving step by step. What are the latest developments and what does the future for it looks like?

Sona: The Amadu Bansang Jobarteh School of Music is Gambia’s first international Manding music school. It is dedicated to delivering a high level of music education to children from The Gambia and also running courses for international students. The latest developments is that we have had our first sizeable donation from a UK based charity called the Erase Foundation which specializes in providing furniture and equipment for schools in The Gambia. It is an amazing charity which is very progressive in supporting education in The Gambia and I’m very honoured to have received a massive amount of equipment from them for the school. Now we are in the final stages of securing a larger piece of land to accommodate for the school expanding in the way that it needs to. The next project at the school is starting in January 2015 and will be the re-enactment of part of the Sundiata epic and will feature students on the Balafon, dance, drumming, and singing.

 

Af: How much do you want this school to be supported by everyone both within and outside?

Sona: The school’s success depends largely on the support we hope to receive from both the Gambian and international community. I am very confident in its aim, and it will be an institution that is one of its kind in The Gambia, and indeed even beyond the border of The Gambia.

 

Af: I’m also aware that you are organizing a music seminar that you are working so hard to stage. What is the level of preparation?

Sona: This seminar will be held sometime in March 2015 and is aimed at addressing some of the issues Gambia has with its music industry. I will be bringing some music industry experts from overseas to share some of their knowledge and also to run some tailor made workshops with bands in The Gambia. This is aimed at helping bands develop in a way that will aid them to reach outside of The Gambia to audiences from around the world. There are specific things which we can develop in the music industry in The Gambia that will help facilitate this. The seminar will also mark the launch of the department at the school which will specialize in music business, management and industry. This is a facility that I’m very keen to offer not only for students at the school but for any Gambians who feel they need help and guidance in these areas.

 

Sona Jobarteh
Sona Jobarteh

Af: Sona let’s talk about your album project. What’s the stage?

Sona: I have now started work on my next album which is to be released next year. I will also be releasing a single in The Gambia in February which will also give a taster of the album to come. So at the moment I’m focusing on getting that finalized.

 

Af: How different do you want to make this album from the previous hit album, which is still a choice for most pundits?

Sona: This next album is stepping things up again for me. I’m basing it much for the band formation so that the songs can be taken seamlessly from the studio to the stage. The sonic is very acoustic, but at the same time with a lot more punch and arrangements, and will feature the kora much more than the previous album. Importantly above all of that, this album is for The Gambia – dedicated to The Gambia and The Gambian people. It’s a message to say that I’m proud to be a part of Gambia and I’m proud to be representing the country around the world in the work that I do. I want people as far away as Japan, Mexico, India and USA to be singing about The Gambia. This will be the single that I want to release in The Gambia first, before anywhere else in the world. It will be due out in February.

 

Af: That does it for this interview, but before taking leave of you, what would be your last comments for this interview?

Sona: Just to thank all the people that have supported the work that I do and my music, and especially also to thank you Hatab for your continued support over the years. I look forward to being back in Gambia after the New Year.

Sona’s website

ABJ School Website

Erase Foundation

 

Hatab Fadera
Hatab Fadera

Veckans Fråga – v.31

Förra veckan frågade vi;

Vad heter samhället/byn där Gambias stora koramästare Jaliba Kuyateh föddes?

Rätt svar: Niamina Dankunku


 

Jaliba Kuyateh är Gambias mest kända koramästare, utsedd till Kungen av Kora i England och också ambassadör för UNICEF.
Läs mer om hans uppväxt, vägen till koraintresset och hans engagemang i UNICEF i vår mycket personliga och öppenhjärtiga intervju med Jaliba Kuyateh. Du hittar intervjun här.

Kora star Sona Jobarteh braces up for London performance

Gambian-British born Sona Jobarteh, who became the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African griot family, is set for a grand concert in the heart of London, United Kingdom, to raise fund for her pet project in The Gambia – the Amadu Bansang Jobarteh School of Music – Gambia’s first Manding music school.

The long-awaited UK appearance will see Sona with her full band on Thursday, July 17th at the Forge in London for this exclusive event that is expected to attract many of her fans. As an ardent advocator of tradition, Sona has been working on establishing this school over the past year which is dedicated to cultivating knowledge and expertise in traditional music and culture amongst the next generation of young Gambians. Named after her grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, Sona’s intent is for the success of this school to stand as an enduring testament to the invaluable legacy he left behind.

In a recent interview with TheGambia.nu, Sona spoke passionately about the idea of putting in place such a great initiative that will create the opportunity for harnessing and unlocking the potentials of youngsters to take on future music careers. “It’s a kind of like an interesting origin because myself I have always been in education – teaching children in UK and Europe generally. I have been a teacher for about nine years in different universities in UK. It has been part of me and I had always thought that one day I am going to have school in The Gambia for musicians,” Sona explained the genesis of how the school idea came about.

“The topic came up with my dad one day when I was about 18 and then he
was like well exactly the same thing was in my head. We never talked
about it before and when it came up, we had exactly the same plan
about what I wanted to do in terms of the legacy we have. So that was
basically how it became stronger in my head – it’s like my dad was
planning the same thing. So I want the curriculum to grow on my dad’s
knowledge because he has a lot of valuable knowledge about the old
tradition. I want to institutionalised some of these knowledge he has,
start to put into curriculum that can be given to children here in The
Gambia and ultimately to Europe”.

Coming from a legendary griot family, Kora Player Sona Jobarteh, who released an acclaimed album “Fasiya” in 2010 and in December featured as a solo vocalist in the Hollywood movie ‘Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom’ is well aware that catching the talents of kids young through her initiative is perhaps the best contribution she could make to the development of The Gambia’s young music industry that continues wrestle with enormous challenges.

 

Sona Jobarteh
Sona Jobarteh

About Sona
Breaking away from tradition, she 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. Born into one of the five principal West African griot families, Sona has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female.

Her family carries a reputation for producing renowned Kora masters, one being her grandfather, Amadou Bansang Jobarteh (ABJ) who was a master griot and remains a leading icon in The Gambia’s cultural and musical history. Her cousin, Toumani Diabaté is also known worldwide for his mastery of the Kora. Taught to play the Kora at the age of four by her elder brother Tunde Jegede, Sona started her musical
journey at a very young age.

The years spent working as a musician in the UK training in classical institutions such as the Royal College of Music and Purcell School of Music, as well as being a permanent member of her brother’s internationally acclaimed ACM Ensemble, allowed her to become immersed in a world of musical diversity many could only dream of. Sona was able to work alongside internationally acclaimed artistes such as Oumou Sangare, Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. These many influences have come together to form one of most exciting new talents from the West African Griot tradition to hit the stage in recent years.

Sona has an effortless ability to blend different musical styles, not just between the West and Africa, but also between West African musical genres. She uses her innovative stance to talk about issues to do with cultural identity, gender, love and respect whilst still referencing and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage. She represents her tradition in a way that is easily accessible to her audiences from around the world, who are drawn in by her captivating voice, strong rhythms and catchy melodies.

About the Kora
The Kora, a 21-stringed African harp, is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa. It can be found in The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The Kora, along with a handful of other instruments, belongs exclusively to the griot families of West Africa. Only those who are born into one of these families have the exclusive right to take up these instruments professionally. It has since been a male-dominated affair,
a situation that has left women born to the griot families to respect that strong culture.

 

Hatab Fadera
Hatab Fadera

Jaliba Kuyateh utsedd till Kungen av Kora i England

Jaliba, Fatou & Tuti Kuyateh
Jaliba Kuyateh på Europaturné 2013

Den hyllade koraspelaren Jaliba Kuyateh från Gambia har blivit krönt till Kungen av Kora ”King of Kora”. Jaliba Kuyateh blev krönt till konung Mandings. Han har gjort sig känd som en traditionell musiker på sitt 21-strängade instrument. Händelsen fick den nykrönta korakungens två hustrur att falla i glädjetårar. Kröningen skedde söndag den 8:e juni 2014 i Bristol i England.

MBG-direktören Nick Maurice fick äran att kröna Kungen av kora: Jaliba Kuyateh som gjort sig känd genom att nå fram till sin publik på ett extraordinärt sätt och att dessutom genom sin musik och kultur skapa fred, harmoni och gemenskap. Jaliba Kuyateh sägs ha börjat spela kora redan vid 5 års ålder och är fantastisk på att hantera det västafrikanska, traditionella instrumentet kora, som även är Gambias nationalinstrument.

Jaliba kommer från en känd griotfamilj i Gambia och är en mycket folklig och omtyckt artist med mycket humor, värme som möter sin publik och sina fans med respekt och kärlek. Många vittnar om Jalibas enkelhet i mötet med sin publik.

Den hyllade musikern är även känd för sin generositet och uppges skänka bort ungefär hälften av sina inkomster från musiken, till välgörande ändamål och han har även byggt skolor, religiösa centrum och vårdcentraler till befolkningen.

Jaliba Kuyateh har även gjort sig känd för sitt engagemang för välgörande ändamål, men också som ambassadör för Unicef.

Så här lät det när vår skribent Kiqi intervjuade Jaliba här i Sverige förra året:

Om Jaliba Kuyatehs konsert i Gambia i januari kan du läsa HÄR!

Jaliba Kuyateh på Facebook

Jaliba Kuyatehs Hemsida

fatou lusi dec 2013
Fatou Lusi

En koramusiker på väg – Lamine Cissokho åker på turné

lamine cissokhoEn modern griot, bosatt i svenska Kalmar men med hela världen som sin arena. Lamine Cissokho släpper nytt material i april och ger sig ut på turné redan nu i mars. Lamine ska ta sig från vårt svenska Göteborg, ner till Guinea och Senegal, och tillbaka till Uppsala, via Frankrike. Under fem månader befinner han sig på turné och bjuder på musik som bland annat är hämtad från hans kommande skiva ”Sama Tilo – Vers La Source”. Turnén startar på onsdag, 12 mars, på Klubb Ankaret i Göteborg. Har du förmånen att ha honom på besök på en ort nära dig så föreslår att jag du inte missar detta tillfälle att höra honom live.

För er som inte redan känner till honom och kanske missade vår artikelserie om Planetafestivalen förra året, så är Lamine Cissokho ättling till en känd griotsläkt och han kommer ursprungligen från Casamance i Senegal, men är bosatt i Sverige sedan 2001. Som så många andra grioter är Lamines huvudinstrument koran. Koran, som påminner om en harpa, är en flersträngad lyra och just Lamines kora är tillverkad av en stor kalebass och har hela 22 strängar. Lamine har spelat kora på allvar sedan 10 års ålder och han skapar magisk musik med sitt instrument. Som en sann västafrikansk trubadur och historieberättare bjuder han lyssnarna på sin muntliga och alldeles speciellt mjuka lovsång, som verkligen berör.

Lamine är både låtskrivare och arrangör och hans melodier och texter speglar verkligen hans många olika världserfarenheter och musikaliska arv. I denne världsmusikers repertoar hör vi allt från hans älskade barndoms traditionella koramusik, till den svenska folkmusiken och den moderna afro-jazzens groove. Tillsammans med tonerna bjuder hans texter på berättelser om livet i en afrikansk griotfamilj, med upplevelser och kulturella möten ute i Europa, inspirerat av hans stora rikedom av musikalisk tradition från Senegal. Främst sjunger Lamine på mandinka, wolof och franska, men också på svenska. Han har spelat ihop med diverse svenska musiker och deltagit på ett otal festivaler, event och konserter runt om i Sverige. Däribland Falu Folkfestival, Folk & Värlsdmusikgalan i Gävle, Planeta, Uppsalas och Göteborgs Konserthus, samt en rad workshops och jamsessions.

På Lamines hemsida kan man läsa ett citat hämtat från en av världens mest kända koraspelare, Toumani Diabaté, när han skrev om Lamines album ”Pako”, från 2011;

”In the world, music is universal, it has no boundaries. This is what Lamine tells us in the lyrics of his new album « Pakao ». He sings of the life and culture of the Griot people as well as the experience of an African in Europe. Lamine’s music is inspired by the enormous wealth of musical traditions of Senegal. He sings mainly in Mandinge and with his impressive, expressive voice, holds audiences captive. He is on the right way to become a famous kora player with his own style “

I dagarna påbörjar Lamine sin nya turné där han framöver kommer att bjuda på musik från sitt kommande album, vilket han släpper till sensommaren. Redan i april kommer första singeln från albumet och den kommer innehålla låtarna ”Sama” och ”Retourne toi”. Ni som bor i Göteborg har turen att kunna njuta av Lamines fängslande musik redan på onsdag, när han gästar Klubb Ankaret. Därifrån reser han sedan vidare ner till Guinea för att spela på Corde et Kora-festivalen i Conakry. Nedan kan ni se Lamines hela turnéplan, så när som på några ytterligare releasefester i bland annat Göteborg och Stockholm. Datum för dessa kommer annonseras ut längre fram.

12 mars – Klubb Ankaret, Götborg /Sverige
22 mars – Corde et Kora-festivalen, Conakry/Guinea

12 april – Senegals Alliance Franco, Ziguinchor/Senegal
19 april – Cisko Center, Cap Skirring/Senegal
26 april – Just4You, Dakar/Senegal

29 maj – Le Jam, Montpellier/Frankrike

7 juni – Singel-release, Borgholm/Sverige
28 juni – Gitarrfestivalen, Biot/Frankrike

cissokho singelomslag bak3 juli – Bouillon de Culture-festivalen, Sallaigousse/Frankrike
6 juli – Wassa’n Africa, Launac/Frankrike
6 juli – Café Plum, Launac/Frankrike
9 juli – Irländska Legender, Jégun/Frankrike
15 juli – Annexet, Ile d’Oléron/Frankrike
28 juli – Afrikanska festivalen, Vaasa/Frankrike

28 augusti – HiJazz, Uppsala/Sverige

För er som är sugna på att lyssna till Lamine redan nu så följer här tre stycken youtube-klipp.
Först hans mycket välkända sång ”Pakao”


Kambeng Groove-konsert på Fasching jazz club i Stockholm (juni 2012)

Livemusik tillsammans med Dembo ”Koeseke” Jatta på Kalebassi i Göteborg (sept 2013)

Lamine Cissokhos hemsida hittar ni här!

Kiqi dumbuya minteh 4

 

Sousou och Maher Cissoko gör musik öppen för alla

Den framgångsrika duon Sousou och Maher Cissoko börjar bli veteraner, både på scen och i inspelningsstudion. Nu kommer deras tredje skiva – en liveinspelad och känslosam historia.
Den nya skivan heter Africa Moo Baalu (betyder ”stora afrikanska ledare”) och skiljer sig
från de tidigare på flera sätt. Den är exempelvis inspelad live. Musiken blir därför extra
själfull och känslosam och man får lite hemma-hos-känsla.

Den första skivan, Adouna, bestod mestadels av traditionell musik och den andra, Stockholm-
Dakar, av egenskrivet material som spände över flera olika genrer.

  • Denna skiva är ett slags mellanting, men även denna består av egenkomponerat material,
    säger Sousou.

Hon förklarar att för en som inte är så insatt låter den nog väldigt traditionell, men att de
plockat upp beats från allt mellan reggae och pop i sitt koraspel.

  • Dessutom är våra låtar uppbyggda på ett annat sätt än de renodlat traditionella. Vi har mer
    vers-refräng-stuket, säger hon.

Hon säger att Africa Moo Baalu har en luftigare ljudbild än den förra, den ligger närmare
Adouna på det sättet.

  • Ljudbilden är inte så tung. Men en massa intrikata rytmer med groove.

I samband med lanseringen av förra skivan, Stockholm-Dakar, gjorde de just den resan, med
bil. En omtumlande upplevelse som etsade sig fast.

– Vi träffade människor som satsat allt på att försöka ta sig till Europa, men som fastnat på
vägen. Alla dessa möten har påverkat oss och även om vi inte sjunger specifikt om dessa
människor finns de med i temat. Den nuvarande situationen håller inte, säger Sousou.

Maher säger att ledarna fortsätter på samma spår som de föregående, problemen fortsätter att
vara desamma.

  • Titelspåret Africa Moo Baalu handlar om världen och att allt kan bli bättre. Ledarna i både
    Afrika och Europa behöver sätta sig ner tillsammans och försöka hitta lösningar, det är
    viktigt, säger han.

Vad är ni mest nöjda med denna gång?
– Vi hade en så bra känsla under inspelningsveckan, det var nästan magiskt med just
liveinspelningen. Det var en så skön känsla att bara slappna av och gå in i musiken. Det var
harmoniskt och kärleksfullt, säger Sousou.

De berättar att de tyvärr fick två tunga besked under inspelningsveckan, två dödsfall som
gjorde att livet och närvaron här och nu kom att betyda ännu mer.

  • Att göra liveinspelning kräver också en väldig koncentration. Nu eller aldrig. Det finns
    ingen chans till omtagning bara för att man själv spelar fel, allt måste sitta ihop.

Vilka fördomar möter ni?
– Det finns en fördom om att ”afrikansk musik” ska vara så glad och tjo och tjim, men denna
skiva är mycket mörkare och djupare. Undrar vad folk kommer att tycka nu, skrattar Sousou.

De berättar att Maher möter vissa fördomar och Sousou andra.
– En del tycker att bara svarta afrikaner ska få spela denna typ av musik, men vi anser att det
handlar om vilken kärlek du har till musiken. Din dedikation är viktigare än din hudfärg. En
hudfärg ska varken berättiga eller hindra. Du ska få göra det du vill, oavsett pigmentmängd.

Ibland möter de arrangörer som tycker att ”vi har redan haft ett koraband i år, vi kan inte ha två”.
– Men koran är ett mångsidigt instrument. Du kan byta stämning, precis som på en gitarr, så
den kan låta på så många olika sätt, säger Maher.

Han berättar att de på nya skivan exempelvis använt en tomorastämning, en stämning som går
mer i moll, och att det är första gången de använder den stämningen i sina låtar.

Hur skulle ni beskriva er musik för någon som aldrig har hört den, med tre ord?
– Öppen för alla, säger Maher snabbt.

Låter bra. Sugen på att höra dem live?

Här har du chansen!

28 februari blir det release i Malmö på Palladium

16 april i Stockholm på Dansens Hus, i samarbete med Selam. (Biljetter kan köpas!)

I mars spelar de på en festival på Bali och i april bär det återigen av till USA.

 

Hemsida: Sousou & Maher Cissoko

Facebook: Maher Cissoko & Sousou Cissoko

Bilder: Pressbilder

helena svensson signatur

A chat with Gambia’s only female kora player

Sona 3 It takes more of courage and a great sense of vision to make a difference and in fact establish a position in a trade that is highly competitive and challenging in nature. This becomes even more challenging especially if one is a woman, given the widely held superiority perceptions that have pervaded the minds of many a man. For many centuries, Kora playing has been viewed as an exclusive affair for men, in that it is a strong hereditary entity that is exclusively handed down to a son by the father.

The Kora, a 21-stringed African harp, is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa. It can be found in The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The Kora, along with a handful of other instruments, belongs exclusively to the griot families of West Africa. Only those who are born into one of these families have the exclusive right to take up these instruments professionally. It has since been a male-dominated affair, a situation that has left women born to the griot families to respect that strong culture.

However, Gambian-British, Sona Jobarteh, became the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she 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. Born into one of the five principal West African griot families, Sona has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female.

Her family carries a reputation for producing renowned Kora masters, one being her grandfather, Amadou Bansang Jobarteh (ABJ) who was a master griot and remains a leading icon in The Gambia’s cultural and musical history. Her cousin, Toumani Diabaté is also known worldwide for his mastery of the Kora. Taught to play the Kora at the age of four by her elder brother Tunde Jegede, Sona started her musical journey at a very young age.

sona 5The years spent working as a musician in the UK training in classical institutions such as the Royal College of Music and Purcell School of Music, as well as being a permanent member of her brother’s internationally acclaimed ACM Ensemble, allowed her to become immersed in a world of musical diversity many could only dream of. Sona was able to work alongside internationally acclaimed artistes such as Oumou Sangare, Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. These many influences have come together to form one of most exciting new talents from the West African Griot tradition to hit the stage in recent years.

Sona has an effortless ability to blend different musical styles, not just between the West and Africa, but also between West African musical genres. She uses her innovative stance to talk about issues to do with cultural identity, gender, love and respect whilst still referencing and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage. She represents her tradition in a way that is easily accessible to her audiences from around the world, who are drawn in by her captivating voice, strong rhythms and catchy melodies.

One of Sona’s most captivating qualities is her voice. Although only taking up her ability to sing very recently, she has since fast been gaining a reputation for her voice alone. Most recently her voice has landed her the big role of vocalist in the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster movie “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” to be released in the United Kingdom in January 2014.

Over the past four years the Kora maestro has been carefully piecing together her band. Forming a UK-based band that is both sympathetic and sensitive to the subtle idioms of the Kora repertoire has not been an easy task, but Sona has now put together a group of inspiring musicians from different parts of Africa who manage to render her music beautifully onstage, whilst still embodying each of their own diverse musical identities. Whether the full band or a smaller acoustic ensemble, this group of musicians never fail to bring a rich, revitalising energy to the stage.

She describes her latest album, released in 2011 entitled, “Fasiya” as a landmark not only in her musical journey, but in the continuously evolving tradition that she is a product of. Into this album Sona has poured not only her abilities as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, but also her competence as a keen producer. Working in both The Gambia and the UK, Sona pieced together the many elements she needed to produce a work of art that would reflect her unique position in this tradition as both a preserver and innovator.

I caught up with her in a marathon online interview recently and she tells us her story as it is.

GN: Thank you so much Sona for accepting this interview and I am happy to indeed host you. Since this is your maiden appearance on this column, who is Sona?

Sona: My name is Sona Jobarteh; I am an international Kora player, musician, composer and producer whose family originates from The Gambia and the United Kingdom.

GN: Sona you are the only female Kora player the country has produced so far. Your story is indeed interesting in that kora playing was seen as a male-dominated hereditary that has been exclusively handed down from father to son. But you have managed to break that culture? Tell us how it all started for you?

Sona: This started with my brother teaching me to play. When I was very young, my brother Tunde Jegede was studying the Kora with my grandfather Amadou Bansang Jobarteh as well as with my father Sanjally Jobarteh. So as a consequence he started to teach me to play as well. When he was at home practicing I would be sitting alongside him learning to play the basics. Later in life when my playing was more developed I then started to study with my father Sanjally Jobarteh.

GN: Sona let me take you back to your 2011 visit to The Gambia where you launched your album. How meaningful was that experience?

Sona: This experience was very meaningful indeed. This was the first time I was coming to The Gambia to perform. Unbelievably I have been to The Gambia so many times spending time with the family but after all these years of performing around the world I had never taken to the stage in The Gambia – the place where it all started! So this was a very momentous occasion for me. Also it was a dream that I had for many years, to be joined on stage with so many members of my own family all at one time. I had my father Sanjally on the Kora, my uncle Sankung Jobarteh on the guitars, and my young cousin Musafily Jobarteh on djimbe.

GN: During the said launch at the Alliance Franco, I remember when you played the song titled ‘Musso’; your entire Gambian family came on the stage singing. What was special about that song?

Sona: This song is about women, and I wrote it in dedication to women because of being inspired by playing the Kora professionally as a female myself. It highlights the importance of female strength, courage and independence.

GN: How much has Amadou Bansang inspired you?

Sona: Amadou is know by so man, not just in The Gambia but internationally. He was one of the leading kora masters of his generation. The legacy that Amadou left for the entire family inspires me greatly. In fact it was because of this that I first started to think seriously about recording my own album, as well as being one of the inspirations for the title of the album, “Fasiya”. I feel so fortunate to be one of his descendants and I hope that my career will in some way contribute to the lineage that has been passed down to me.

GN: How about your father, Sanjally Jobarteh? What does he do and how inspirational has he been to you?

Sona: My father is himself a leading Kora player internationally, and has toured Europe as well as Africa. I feel that he is currently the one carrying the torch for the repertoire of the Kora that was passed on to him by his father. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence studying and playing Kora with his father, and so has taken so much knowledge of the Kora from him. This is why I started to study with my father so that I could start to learn some of the real roots of the instrument and some of the old repertoire that many people do not play anymore. Studying with my father actually helped me to find my voice on the Kora. This is something that I will always be developing, but the first step was the most important one.

GN: Sona there seem to be a decline in terms of interest among Kora players in preserving this prestigious heritage. What do you think could be attributed to this and what do you think can be done to preserve this for generations yet unborn?

Sona: There are of course a lot of other influences coming into the country from other parts of the world (especially America). I do not think this is a negative thing, but I always say that it is just as important for people to continue to learn and preserve their own traditions. Working with people in Europe, I think it is often such irony because many people in Europe are amazed and envious of the traditions they find in West Africa, but meanwhile those in West Africa are often more interested in what Europe has to offer than the richness and strength of the traditions they already have. But to be fair, when I look around I do see a lot of young people in The Gambia who are very talented players not just on the Kora but on other instruments too. So I think this is very encouraging. I think that the support for these musicians in The Gambia needs to be raised to a higher level in order to continue to encourage people to take up their traditional instruments. I love change, innovation and collaboration, but it is just as important to retain the roots, otherwise we will be left with nothing.

GN: As a Kora player, I am sure a lot is already on your mind in terms of preserving this heritage. But if I may ask, do you plan to establish a Kora school in The Gambia? If yes, how do you intend to go about it?

Sona: My father has been working on setting up such a school for many years, and I too have plans to assist in this enterprise. But for this to be realised on my part, I myself need to be residing in The Gambia. I will be returning to The Gambia at the end of next year and will continue to pursue these initiatives then, as well as sourcing out funding to support some of the objectives.

GN: I also believe that one way of promoting the preservation of the Kora is for Gambian Kora players both at home and abroad to team up and stage a major Kora festival in The Gambia at least once a year. Has this ever been on your mind, and if yes, how do you think this can be achieved?

Sona: To my knowledge there was supposed to be a Kora Festival in The Gambia in Brikama last year proposed by Oko Drammeh and I had planned to attend it but unfortunately it did not hold. I am certainly keen to support festivals such as this to gain even more attention to the international community. Meanwhile I am looking forward to attending it once it comes up.

GN: Well some are with the belief that the Kora in fact originated from The Gambia. Do you share this widely held belief among Gambians?

Sona: Old written texts written by a number of historians and ancient travelers during the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as oral tradition as told by my grandfather and other well-established griots all agree on the origins of the Kora. It dates back to the time of the Kabu Empire and is attributed to the griot Jeli Mady Wuleng. Of course, during the time of the Kabu Empire the colonial borders of The Gambia as we know it today were not in existence. But the Empire of Kabu centered in modern-day Guinea Bissau and extended up into Cassamance. This information along with other studies about African culture and history is very important to be taught to the young generation in Africa. Knowledge of history is one of the most powerful tools for liberation, pride and independence. Too often I find that Europeans study more about African history than Africans themselves. This needs to change.

GN: Which Kora player has inspired you and why?

Sona: There are many Kora players that have inspired me over the years! I lose count… But just to name some of the major ones – my brother, my father and my grandfather. Also Ballaké Cissoko, Jeli Moussa Cissoko, Toumani Diabaté, Sidiki Diabaté, Bouly Cissoko. There are many more and I am sure over the years many more will come! All of these players have touched me in some way and I think to become a great player you must learn something from all of your role models and then come up with something new that is also a tribute to them all.

GN: What do you think of Jaliba Kuyateh?

Sona: I would love to meet Jaliba when I am next in The Gambia! I hear so much about him, but still I have not met him as yet. He is one of the few Gambian players that have gained a lot of success internationally, so I have a huge amount of respect for him not just as a Kora player but also as a musician, singer and ambassador for The Gambia.

GN: Sona since you have broken off the record to become the only female Kora player of our time by taking up this instrument professionally, what have been your achievements as well as challenges? Tell us more about your journey?

Sona: I think the biggest challenge is always trying to live up to my own expectations because there is such mastery of music in my family line. I feel that I have a lot to live up to. But I feel very humbled that I am having the opportunity to perform around the world and that my music is being welcomed so positively in so many different countries. It has shown me firsthand what powerful tool music can be in crossing both cultures and languages. The journey to where I am now has been a life-long one, but I have learnt so much along the way from so many diverse places and am continuing to learn all the time. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to share the stage with some top musicians such as Toumani Diabate, Oumou Sangare, Kasse Mady Diabate and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra from the UK. My most recent success has been featuring as a vocalist on the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster movie Mandella: Long Walk to Freedom, which has been privately screened to some of the top people in the world such as the Mandela family in South Africa and President Obama in the US. Also I have recently secured funding from the British Council to travel with my band to Tanzania to perform at one of East Africa’s largest music festivals called “Busara” next year.

GN: Tell us how elated you were when selected to sing on the Hollywood blockbuster movie on Mandela: “Long Walk to Freedom”?

Sona: I was so honoured to be asked to sing on the movie. I sang on the previous film made by this director, Justin Chadwick, two years ago, and the track that I sang on won the award at the International Film Soundtrack Awards held in Belgium. So it was amazing to be asked back again to sing on his next film, in addition to this film being such a milestone in history.

GN: How did you and all the rest react to the news of the passing of Nelson Mandela on the very day his movie was being screened in London?

Sona: It was the strangest experience. Mandela actually passed away during the screening of the film, so no one knew that it had happened. When the film finished Idris Elba and the producers came to the stage to announce that he had passed away while we had been watching. The daughters of Mandela who were also at the screening had asked for the screening not to be stopped, and instead for the news to be broken to the audience once the film had finished. When the producer told us the news the audience all gasped, and people started weeping and crying, and others stood frozen in shock, others had to be escorted out who were uncontrollable with grief. No one moved from their positions for a long time – no one could believe the timing of it. Everyone present felt that this was not a coincidence – it was like a huge chapter in life closing – as if he was saying that his job on this earth was done, and it was now time for him to leave his message behind. We are now left with the task of honoring his name by striving to uphold the convictions of this man – to fight for equality for all human beings on this earth, because it is a basic human right for all people to live free from poverty and racism. We are still very far from reaching this.

GN: Musafilly Jobarteh is your cousin and no doubt an inspiring teenage Gambian drummer. What can you comment on his talent?

Sona: This is the prime example of the much needed support of young rising talent. He carries the griot music in his bones and he was a born musician. One of the best things also is that he stands as an inspiration and role model to other youngsters to take up their instruments and study them to the highest level, just as he has done. All of us now have a duty to support and nourish this talent. The future of Musa is so bright and I have been working hard to promote and spread the word about him wherever I have been going internationally. I would really love to do some work with him when I come to the Gambia next year. The world needs to see this amazing talent!

GN: Before taking leave of you, what would be your last words to fellow female griots about taking the Kora professionally?

Sona: I would say that it is not an easy journey, and the Kora must always be respected as a male instrument (I will need a separate interview to fully explain that comment before people think I’m being sexist!) But very briefly, every instrument has its own character, just like a human being. So to really play that instrument you must first try to understand the character of the instrument you are learning to play, and also to try to embody some of it for yourself – if you are a female this may not come naturally. So it is a fine balance between your musicianship and your femininity. But in conclusion I will always encourage women to pursue whatever path it is that they most desire, as long as it is true to themselves. And you must always give whatever you do in life 100%!

GN: Any final words?

Sona: I’m very happy to say that I will be coming to The Gambia quite a lot over the next year. I really look forward to it, and also at working with some new artists with regards to production. I have just finished producing a new single for The Gambian artist Kumba Kuyateh which will be released very soon, and I plan to be doing more work with artists when I come.

Before about Sona Jobarteh in thegambia.nu

Hatab Fadera
Hatab Fadera

Record turnout for Jaliba Kuyateh’s twin album launch

Jali 2January 4th, 2013 on Saturday night was a thrilling moment in the country’s entertainment industry as thousands of fans and dignitaries both within and outside The Gambia flocked to the Sahel Fitness Center in Bijilo for the much anticipated twin album launching of The Gambia’s ‘kora king’ and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Jaliba Kuyateh. Titled ‘Alin ntujeh’ and ‘Woli Sabo’, each album contains eight beautiful sound tracks.
Among the guests at the musical concert included the technical adviser to the Senegalese House of Parliament, Ms Maimuna Jallow, also a former Miss Senegal; prominent Senegalese comedian and TV show host, Kouthia and rising Senegalese singer, Queen Biz.
‘Woli Sabo’ literally meaning three saints, gives a picture of how one should learn to endure to maintain peace in society as well as learn to accept, forgive and be friendly to each other. For the second one, ‘Ali ntujeh’, it is a love song, which literally is trying to underline the fact that “love is blind.”
DSCF1039The grand launching, that was qualified as “successful” came hard on the heels of months of musical tour of the wider Europeby Jaliba and his Kumareh Band, availing them the opportunity to strengthen their support base.
Saturday night’s launching was described by many as one of itskind in that the place was virtually full to the brim. For thepast three years, Jaliba had been organising his launching at the Senegambia Gardens, but this year, he moved the venue to a more spacious place – Sahel Fitness Center – in an attempt to cater for the increased fan base. But to his surprised, the place was almost filled to capacity, thus meaning that future concerts by the kora maestro will require him to stage it at a place more spacious than this year’s venue.
Delighted by the positive response by supports, Jaliba could only say “Thank God” for what he called the “love shown to him” by people. He thanked them for the support and prayed for God to reward them. Similar words were expressed by the manager of the Kumareh Band, Lamin Camara, who thanked Gambians within and outside; notably those from Norway, Sweden, Finland and the entire Europe and America in general for travelling all the way to The Gambia to attend the launching of the twin albums. He also commended the fans and various groups for their support and encouragement, acknowledging that every year they come in their numbers to support them.
Jali-3-300x225
Camara thanked the sponsors of the event for their support, while pledging Jaliba and the Band’s commitment to always deliver the best to the people.
Representing The Gambia’s minister of Tourism and Culture, the deputy permanent secretary, Codou Jabang congratulated Jaliba and the Kumareh Band for the latest work, saying the Tourism and Culture Ministry is delighted to be associated with the launching. She also commended Jaliba’s sponsors and fans for the support, while informing that her minister had pledged to purchase 10 CDs of the two albums that have been launched.
The event wrapped up at some minutes after 5am on Sunday morning after the Kumareh Band played all the 16 new sound tracks.
Our interview from Jaliba´s last visit in Sweden in october 2013 you will find HERE!
Hatabfadera