Born in London, Jobarteh started to learn the kora at the age of four from her brother Tunde Jegede. She went on to study the cello, piano, harpsichord and composition at the Royal College of Music and Purcell School for Young Musicians in the UK. Later, she joined Jegede̓s African Classical Music Ensemble and toured the world, sharing a stage with Diabaté and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Jobarteh is enchanting both as an instrumentalist and a singer, with a trademark style that beautifully blends Western classical music with traditional African sounds. In Hong Kong, the dexterous performer and her band tell the story of the Manding people down the ages in a concert to soulfully and gracefully touch your heart.
Kora / Guitar / Vocals
Griot and Kora
The griots of West Africa are hereditary musicians who historically served at court while also taking on roles as historians, advisors to royal families, praise singers, and poets. The griot tradition can be traced back to the 13th-century Manding Empire. A kora is made from a large calabash (bottle gourd) that has been cut in half, cow skin, a hardwood neck and 21 strings. The musician plucks the strings with the thumb and index finger of both hands, producing clear and melodious polyrhythmic music. The instrument has a major place in West Africa’s cultural heritage and is only played by griots.