Sona Jobarteh
(The Gambia)

Sona Jobarteh is a kora player of mixed Gambian and British descent, her father Sanjally Jobarteh is from Gambia, and part of a griot family. Her grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh (born 1915) was a kora master of his time. He was actually from Mali and migrated to the Gambia, this explains that another kora master Toumani Diabaté is actually a cousin of Sona. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Tunde Jegede is Sona's brother, they share the same mother, but Tunde's father Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede is from Nigeria.

Already when she was nearly 4 years old, she was taught to play the kora by her brother Tunde. In the following years, both travelled regularly to the Gambia. Later on, it was her father who continued to teach her mastering the kora. It was quite unusual for a girl to play this ancient instrument, even until today. She attended the Royal College of Music, where she studied cello, piano and harpsichord, and soon after went on to the Purcell School of Music to study composition.[2] She also completed a degree at SOAS, University of London.

Sona gave her first public performance when she was only 4 years old. When she was still a music student, she has made several appearances with a variety of artists and ensembles. Moreover, she is a regular member of her brother Tunde Jegede's African Classical Music Ensemble, which has toured England, Ireland, Africa and parts of the Caribbean. [2]

She became more and more involved in composing and performing music for movies, examples are the movies 500 Years Later (2005) and Broken Embraces (2009), in both movies she played the kora. For the 2010 movie Motherland she was the composer of the music, it was released as an album in the same year. In 2011, her album « Fasiya » came out, a critically acclaimed album with no weak track whatsoever. In celebration of 50 years of Independence for the Gambia in 2015, a new single « Gambia » was released as a download, and the beautiful video clip has been shown on Youtube 4,8 million times (September 2018). A new album has been announced.

Sona Jobarteh
Sona Jobarteh, Wuppertal 2016
By Atamari [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
• Musicians on the album Fasiya:
Sona Jobarteh vocals, kora, bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, calabash
Femi Temowo electric guitar, bass, mixing (all tracks)
Sankung Jobarteh electric guitar
Babacar Dieng djembe, bugarabu
Wesley Joseph drums
Musa Pererra bass
Saihou Kanuteh balafon, vocals on track 7
Mbemba Jammeh dundun
Baba Gallé Fulani flute
Dudou Ndow sabar (track 4)
Pa Bahum bass (track 4)
Sura Susso congas (track 5)
Juldeh Camara Nyanyeru (riti) on tracks 8 and 10)

Born: 17 October 1983, in London
Style: Kora music / Mandingo music

Title Year Label Remarks
Badinyaa Kumoo 2022 African Guild Records
Gambia 2015 African Guild Records Single
Fasiya 2011 African Guild Records
Motherland 2010 African Guild Records The Soundtrack to the Motion Picture
Afro Acoustic Soul 2008 Sonasoul Records 001

Page added September 2018