World-renowned Gambian musician Sona Jobarteh to appear in concert

10 September 2018

Carleton College presents an exciting evening of West African music, featuring a performance by world-renowned vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sona Jobarteh on Saturday, September 15 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Kracum Performance Hall of the Weitz Center for Creativity.

Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a prestigious West African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is considered a modern-day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated musical tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries.

The Kora (a 21-stringed African harp) is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau). It belongs exclusively to Griot families (hereditary musical families), and only those who are born into one of these families have the right to take up the instrument professionally.

Jobarteh”s family carries a heavy reputation for renowned Kora masters, notably her grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh who was an icon in Gambia’s cultural and musical history, and her cousin Toumani Diabaté who is renowned for his mastery of the Kora.

A social activist, lecturer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jobarteh is one of the most exciting new talents from the West African Griot tradition to hit the stage in recent years. She is renowned for her effortless ability to blend musical styles, while using her innovative stance to talk about issues focused on cultural identity, gender, love and respect while still adhering to and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage. Jobarteh presents her musical 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.

In recent years, Jobarteh has quickly found international success, headlining major festivals around the world in Brazil, India, South Korea, Ghana, Mexico, Tanzania, Cote D’Ivoire, Lithuania, Poland and Malaysia. She has released two critically-acclaimed CDs, “Fasiya” and  “Motherland: The Score.” This year, Jobarteh was awarded Artist of the Year 2018 at the Africa Festival in Wurzburg, Germany, Europe’s largest Africa Festival. More at

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Department of Music with support from Arts@Carleton, the Elizabeth Nason Distinguished Women Visitors Fund, the William H. Laird Professorship of French and the Liberal Arts, Special Projects Africa, Africana Studies, and Charles Geer ’62 and Barbara Geer ’63.

This event is free and open to the public. The Kracum Performance Hall is in the Weitz Center for Creativity, located at Third and College Streets in Northfield. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4475.

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