Gambia’s female Kora sensation to release new video next month

Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh, The Gambia’s most prolific famle Kora player, is due to release the video of her first song dedicated to her ancestral country on November 12, the band announced last week in their official newsletter.

“This is a major stepping stone,” Sona said.

“The video is now complete and I’m very happy to announce that the official release date will be 12th November 2015.”

She announced that following two weeks of filming in The Gambia back in June, work on the video has finally been edited in Seattle USA with Jacob Bain – one of the two cameramen who shot the footage earlier this year.

Sona recorded the song to mark The Gambia’s 50 years of independence (Golden Jubilee) and it is the Kora virtoso’s first track dedicated to her country.
The song has already received a massive boost in terms of publicity even before the official release of the video.

Just last month, Sona and two of her band members were featured on BBC Woman’s Hour where they performed an acoustic version of the song live to thousands of listeners.

“The reception to this track so far has been truly overwhelming, with a large amount signing up for pre-purchase in November,” she said.

“It is extremely encouraging to hear, see and feel such a positive response from audiences ahead of its release.”

The newsletter further revealed that the the single will be aired on BBC World Service in November to millions of people around the world during a feature length interview with Sona.

Kora is a 21-string traditional mandinka harp built from a large calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator with a long hardwood neck.

The skin is supported by two handles that run under it, and it supports a notched double free-standing bridge.

It is most commonly used by griots, praise singers, in West African countries of Mali, The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conarkry.

Kora is predominanly played men but Sona ‘s appearance on the Kora scene has not only ended the male dominance but took the music to the world.

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