A sensational Gambian female Kora player, Sona Jobarteh, is expected to release a song dedicated to the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation, a practices banned in her home country of Gambia last year.
Sona who is scheduled to perform on February 11 at the prestigious Corn Exchange in Oxford, UK, will embed the song on FGM in her new album to be released at an unspecified time.
“Sona will be releasing a song on her new album addressing FGM in a further effort to highlight the practice and encourage people to bring end to its proliferation in The Gambia and elsewhere,” her team said in their recent newsletter.
Sona travelled to Washington in December to attend a 3-day international conference on FGM.
She is supporting efforts to stop FGM particularly in Gambia where the practice is still widely practiced despite it being officially banned in the country last year.
The team also announced her school in Gambia will soon begin a tailored programme to address the issue with its students (99% of whom have already undergone the procedure) and explore ways of preventing the recurrence of the practice across future generations.
“Cultural beliefs and practices are very hard to uproot, even when they do so much harm. But I believe that targeting our youth and children is the vital way forward in our fight to eliminate this practice for our next generation of girls. Our students have already been affected by it, but we will do everything to empower both the girls and the boys to prevent their children from suffering the same fate,” Sona said.
Sona Jobarteh ended her 2016 UK tour on a high with a performance at London’s Rich Mix, part of the London Jazz Music Festival.
Being the first show Sona has performed in London since 2015, the night drew a full crowd as well as both national and international journalists and bloggers.
Her school, ABJ School of music, is the first of its kind in the Gambia, offering an integrated curriculum of music alongside a high level of academic study which includes Maths, science, literacy, art, history, social studies, media studies, food nutrition, agriculture, music theory and music technology.
Following her successful performance in London, Sona received a shining 4-star review from one of the Guardian’s top music critics Robin Denselow who branded her as having “all the makings of an international star”.
The following week, the Guardian Newspaper selected Sona as one of their top 50 rising star artists from around the world.
Kora is a men-dominated West African instrument but Sona appeared to have redefined that cultural perception with excellence.
She made her debut in India in November, taking to the stage at the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh as part of a 3-day grand wedding attended by notable personalities from India, Europe and West Africa.
The audience was blown away by the show, many of whom had never attended a performance of African music before. This impressive debut has set the ball rolling for future events in India for Sona which are now being planned.
Information used on this story was culled from the official newsletter