Sona Jobarteh

Headlining this year’s Big Bang Festival of Rhythm, was Gambian Kora player, Sona Jobarteh who performed with her five-piece band at the Sugar Club on Saturday 18th July.

Sona’s family, which includes her cousin Toumani Diabate is one of only five griot families who, according to Manding tradition have the exclusive right to play the 21 stringed kora professionally. Sona’s career marks a break away from the male-dominated tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries. Her haunting voice features in the soundtrack of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom.’

Jobarteh played to a packed audience, who still found room for dancing, with Sona joining them on the dance floor. 

© 2015 Anthony Griffin. All Rights Reserved.