To hear this Gambian kora magician play is a blessing in itself. Usually the domain of men, she has made the instrument her own. Like a lover, the chords join with her delicate African fingers to create magic. For Sona, they are an extension of sensitivity and the power to relate unity and the mother, the junction of this yearning. With her just-released album, Badinyaa Kumoo, the young woman with elegantly braided hair and a pure voice, sings of fraternal affection, the intimate microcosm between brother and sister with angelic beauty. Among her esteemed collaborators, Youssou N’Dour and Ballaké Sissoko appear on her album, as does harmonica player Jock Webb. High praise for this outstanding musical artist who has been charting her own course with panache and sincerity since 2010, guided by the motto, “Just do it.”


Accepted within a tight circle of griots, Sono mastered the mysteries with solemnity, without every losing her sense of self. Her attachment to the blues and Afropop strongly influences her compositions. Early in her career, on her second album, Fasiya, she sang in praise of her father, her rock during her artistic development, the great Sanjally Jobarteh. Like him, she is skilled in production, her songs are created to be timeless, impervious to trends. It’s her way of respecting the noble lineage to which she belongs, body and soul.


Dividing her time between England and Gambia, Sona Jobarteh is blazing a path for women Kora players in Africa. From New York to Paris, the media follows her every step. And she doesn’t only appear on stages but also participates in international conferences. Her boundless humanity spills over into her social concerns, and she has taken an active role regarding music education in Gambia. Thanks to her, Gambia Academy, the country’s first to specialize in music, opens its doors to the next generation, helping to fill an institutional void. Sona Jobarteh is simply irresistible.


Vivant entre l’Angleterre et la Gambie, Sona Jobarteh jouit du titre de pionnière virtuose de la kora en Afrique. De New-York à Paris, la presse suit ses moindres manifestations, ne se contente pas de la scène pour s’exprimer mais également par des conférences internationalement suivies. Son humanité sans borne se déverse dans ses luttes sociales dont son rôle actif dans l’éducation musicale en Gambie. La Gambia Academy ouvre grâce à elle ses portes à la relève, palliant à une lacune institutionnelle sur le continent africain. Simplement irrésistible…

Sona Jobarteh
Gambie, UK
Festival international Nuits d'Afrique 2023