After books, place to the music! Zoom on the Kora and the talented Sona Jobarteh

Dernière mise à jour : 2 nov. 2018

In my Wednesday post, I told you about a book that moved me. Today, I will introduce you to one of the African instruments that touches me, transports me and moves me: the Kora.

The Kora, an African music instrument...

The Kora, African music instrument on Kelen, African art promotion
The Kora, African music instrument

The kora is a lute harp from West Africa. Its sound box is a half calabash covered with a skin of beef and crossed by a shaft.

Traditionally, the kora was played by griots, storytellers, poets, memorialists, councilors of princes. The griot spoke and sang while playing extremely elaborate music, transmitted from father to son and enriched with each generation.

And of course, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the music of the talented Sonah Jobarteh, one of the first women to play the kora!!! Indeed, in West Africa, playing the kora remains exceptional for a woman.

Sonah Jobarteh, Kora player, on Kelen, African art promotion
Sonah Jobarteh

Born in London in 1983 to an English mother and a Gambian father, she is the granddaughter of Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, a famous kora player. She is also the cousin of the Malian artist, Toumani Diabaté, who made the strings of his calabash harp vibrate on the stages of the whole world.

"The kora is part of my family tradition," says Sonah. With this instrument, the challenge is to master a repertoire where tradition is omnipresent and includes hundreds of songs that tell the glory of a secular empire. "

In Banjul, the musician opened a music school in 2014 where around 20 children, aged from 10 to 18, learn thow o play traditional instruments, as kora, balafon, ngoni, djembe, from Mandingo culture.

I like her sweet voice that accompanies the delicate and deep sound of the Kora. Through her instrument, she manages to plunge us into her universe.

Let's listen...

I just love it!

Artistically yours,


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