Hong Kong City Hall Theatre 9.11 (Thur) 8pm

  • $280
  • $220
  • $160

Hong Kong City Hall Theatre 10.11 (Fri) 8pm

  • $280
  • $220
  • $160

Sona Jobarteh and Band | Gambia / UK

Kora Concert

9-10.11 (Thur-Fri) 8pm

Seat Plan Book now


In Mandinka

Approx. 1 hours 30 minutes without intermission

Sona Jobarteh and Band | Gambia / UK

Kora Concert

  • Programme
  • Extension Activities
  • Review

“[Sona Jobarteh] has all the makings of an international star”The Guardian, UK

After seven centuries, West African griot tradition inherited by a female kora virtuoso for the first time

Sona Jobarteh was born into one of the five principal griot families in West Africa. Her family has included many celebrities over the generations. Grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh was a Gambia maestro and cousin Toumani Diabaté is a renowned kora master. Jobarteh̓s own extraordinary talent and dedication have helped her to become the first female kora virtuoso, breaking the male-dominated hereditary tradition. Composer, producer and musician rolled into one, Jobarteh has metamorphosed into one of the brightest lights on the world music scene today.

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
Sona Jobarteh

Acoustic Guitar
Derek Johnson

Westley Joseph

Mamadou Sarr

Andi McLean

Fast Fact:
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.
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Related Info

  • Meet-the-artist session after the performance on 9 November
  • With lecture demonstration and talk

Sona Jobarteh

Lecture Demonstration

Sona Jobarteh is the first female kora virtuoso, breaking the West African griot tradition previously handed down from father to son. Here, Jobarteh introduces the region’s unique musical culture and distinctive instruments used exclusively by griots, and performs extracts from traditional works. A question-and-answer session on West African music is also included.
Moderator: Dr Facil Tesfaye
(Programme Director in African Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, The University of Hong Kong)
Speaker: Sona Jobarteh
10.11 (Fri) 2:30pm-4pm
F. S. Drake Gallery, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong
In English
Free admission. Limited seats, available on a first-come-first served basis
Venue Supported by
University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong


Born in UK, Sona Jobarteh is a descendant of one of the five major griot families in West Africa and the tradition’s first female kora virtuoso. She was also trained in Western classical music from an early age. In this talk, Jobarteh will discuss her Gambian heritage, the story of the West African Manding people down the generations, and how she melds the two forms of music brought together through her upbringing.
Moderator: Halen Woo
(Kora & Djembe Instructor)
Speaker: Sona Jobarteh
11.11 (Sat) 2:30pm-4pm
01 Space
(127 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
In English with Cantonese interpretation
Free admission. Limited seats, available on a first-come-first-served basis