Artist Preview – Sona Jobarteh

Turner Sims Intern, Emma Atkins previews Sona Jobarteh’s gig…

The first female Kora virtuoso to come from a prestigious West African Griot family, Sona Jobarteh, will be performing at Turner Sims on Friday 20 April. I am anticipating a great performance due to Sona’s outstanding reputation as a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. Sona is one of the most exciting new talents from the West African Griot tradition to hit the stage in recent years.

As an instrumentalist myself, Sona is an inspiration due to performing at venues such as London’s Jazz Cafe alongside her brother at as young as five years old. Sona was born into one of the five principal Griot families and has become the first female to take up the instrument professionally, making her truly inspiring. In addition to this, in more recent years, Sona has achieved international success, headlining major festivals around the world.

In 2011, Sona released her critically acclaimed first solo album entitled Fasiya in which she has modernised the presentation of kora music, adding its accompaniment to a modern band with electric instruments. Sona has blended a variety of West African musical styles all of which root herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage, enabling her music to touch audiences from all backgrounds and cultures. Songs from this album are easy to listen to due to the inclusion of a range of tempos, all of which have a catchy dance-like rhythm. I specifically enjoy the imitation that is created between the instruments and vocal lines. I am excited to watch Sona perform live in her forthcoming performance.

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