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(GAMBIA, 1993) @
Muhamadou Salieu Suso was born into a family of traditional Gambian musicians/historians that extends back nearly 1, 000 years. Begining at age eight, he ws trained to play kora, a form if West African harp. He is the descendant of JaliMasy Wulayn Suso, the inventor of the kora. Salieu Suso has performed thoughought Africa and Europe with various groups, including the vary popular Jaliya Kafo! Ensemble.
You are listening to the kora, a 21 stringed musical instrument strung with monofilament fishing line in varying thickness. In the days before monofilament was available the strings were made of antelope hide. Kora music is the sound of the spirit of African Mandingo music.
The kora is made from half a gourd or calabash with a hardwood post, that runs through it The calabash is covered with a cowhide that is stretched over the open side of the half calabash and then left in the sun to dry tight and hold the handposts in place.
A tall bridge is mounted upright on the skin face of the instrument and separates the playing strings into two planes, the kora player supports the instrument by holding the handposts with the third forth and fifth fingers. The notes are played with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands. The player tunes the kora by moving leather rings around the neck of the instrument to achieve the appropriate tension of each string. Kora players use a variety of tunings, one of the important aspects of kora playing. Traditionally, when Kings and Queens enjoyed the music they would drop a gift of money into the sound hole of the calabash body.
Salieu Suso was born into a family of farmers and traditional Gambian musicians/historians that extends back nearly 1000 years He was trained to play the 21 stringed Kora (West African Harp) beginning at age 8 by his father, renowned Kora player Alhaji Musa Makang Suso. He is a descendent of JaliMady Wulayn Suso, the inventor of the Kora. Suso graduated from high school in The Gambia, West Africa. Speaks English fluently and Mandigo, Fula, Wolof, Sarahulay and some German. Before settling in the United States in 1989, Suso performed widely throughout Africa and Europe. Salieu Suso is the leader of the Jaliya Kafo! Extended Family Music Ensemble, and is a leader in the nation's rapidly growing African music scene. Suso actively freelances with other groups
The Jali, or musician, uses the kora as an accompaniment to narration and songs (often improvised) honoring great patrons and recounting historical events. It is the main instrument of a Mandinka Griot or Jaliba, who are traditional keepers of history, as well as being musicians and storytellers.
Salieu Suso is a traditional Mandinka Griot from the Gambia, West Africa, He learned to play the kora when he was eight years old, and began his professional career by the age of fifteen. Since then he has played throughout Gambia and has traveled extensively, playing and promoting traditional Gambian music, and the repertoire of the kora. A personal and intimate performance by a master of the kora, certainly one of the most beautiful sounding instruments in the world. Produced by Geoffrey Sherrard and Amy Chen.
Tracks:1. Kuruntu Kallafa - 7:482. Jimba Sen - 12:303. Simbun Ba - 8:394. Siddy Yellah Yayan - 25:53