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July 18, 2009

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh - Tabara: Gambian Kora Music

Ok guys, you've gotta get this one. No joke. This guy is the elder statesman of the kora. Great uncle of Toumani Diabate. And he knows his stuff. Even if you pass up all the other kora albums, get this one. It's so mind-boggling what he does, and yet so elegant and modest. I only wish I understood the words, I'm sure he's recounting tales of fetching heroes and wretching wenches. This music will lift your spirit. Clean out of your body.

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh

Biography by Craig Harris

The musical traditions and historical recollections of West Africa are expressed through the music of kora player and vocalist Amadu Bansang Jobarteh. Although not as well known as younger musicians in his family -- Toumani Diabate and Sidiki Diabate -- Jobarteh continues to expand on the musical traditions of his homeland. According to Rootsworld, Jobarteh's "music is at once ancient and new, praising the heroes and benefactors of his home and family, telling the history of his people, and doing it within a series of structures that leave room for individual expression through improvisation." The son of a griot father, Jobarteh moved with his family to Bansang, Gambia, where he was taught to play the kora. Jobarteh's album, Tabara, showcases his talents as a solo performer.

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh (kora, voice) is a jali: an oral historian and hereditary praise singer from among the Mandinka people of Gambia, West Africa. Amadu's family background clearly illustrates the hereditary nature of jalis in West African society. In the late 1800s, and at the request of a Gambian chief, Amadu's father Jali Fili Jobarteh emigrated from Mali and settled with his family in the town of Bansang. Although the father played koni, his children learned the kora, which was the favored instrument in that area of Gambia.

Amadu first learned kora from his elder brother Bala, whose son Sidiki Diabate is now considered one of the most accomplished jalis in all of Mali. Sidiki's son, Toumani Diabate, is well known in the West, and has numerous recordings to his credit. Now is his late seventies, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh embodies the wisdom and maturity of a grand master, and is one of the oldest and most respected kora players of our time. Despite his age, his musical mind is sharp and his fingers are incredibly nimble. He has performed around the world and has taught in Europe and the United States.

Amadu Jobarteh passed away in April of 2001.

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh - Tabara: Gambian Kora Music

Recorded: 1987
Released: 1993
Label: Music of the World

Review by Jason Ankeny

The expertly recorded Tabara is a showcase for Amadu Bansang Jobarteh's mastery of the kora, the 21-string West African harp made of wood, calabash gourd, cowhide and nylon strings. Sweet and serene, his playing adheres strongly to tradition yet remains fresh and exciting, equally at home on instrumentals and vocal tracks.

1 Tabara 8:31
2 Jula Faso 11:52
3 Lamban 7:18
4 Kelefaba 11:03
5 Fode Kaba 9:42
6 Hama Ba Jata 3:00
7 Jula Jegere 10:51
8 Alfa Yaya 8:39

mp3 256kbps | w/ cover | 113mb


astarte said...

There's an electric version of this instrument as well. I saw an African rock group called Ba Cissoko perform in the Netherlands once, there were two guys playing electric koras - my, it sounded like Jimi Hendrix, were these guys good!

whatever said...

Can you reupload it? Thanks a lot in advance!