Sona Jobarteh


Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a west African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a modern day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries.The Kora is a 21 stringed African harp, and is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa. It can be found in Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The kora, along with a handful of other instruments, belongs exclusively to the griot families of west Africa. Only those who are born into one of these families have the exclusive right to take up these instruments professionally. Sona, who was born into one of the five principal West African Griot families, has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female.

Her family carries a heavy reputation for renowned Kora masters, one being her Grandfather, Amadu Bansang Joberteh who was a Master Griot and remains a leading icon in Gambia’s cultural and musical history. Her cousin Toumani Diabaté is also known worldwide for his mastery of the Kora. Taught to play the kora at the age of four by her elder brother Tunde Jegede, Sona started her musical journey at a very young age, later further developing her expertise under the tutorship of her father Sanjally Jobarteh.The years spent working as a musician in the UK training in Classical institutions such as the Royal College of Music and Purcell School of music, as well as being a permanent member of her brother’s internationally acclaimed ACM Ensemble allowed Sona to become immersed in a world of musical diversity many could only dream of. Sona was able to work alongside internationally acclaimed artists such as Oumou Sangaré, Toumani Diabaté, Kasse Mady Diabaté and The BBC Symphony Orchestra. These many influences have come together to form one of most exciting new talents from the West African Griot tradition to hit the stage in recent years.

Sona has an effortless ability to blend different musical styles, not just between the West and Africa, but also between West African musical genres. She uses her innovative stance to talk about issues to do with cultural identity, gender, love and respect whilst still referencing and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage. Sona represents her tradition in a way that is easiy accessible to her audiences from around the world, who are drawn in by her captivating voice, strong rhythms and catchy melodies.


In 2010 Sona composed the film score to the Multi-Award winning documentary film “The Motherland”, directed by Owen Alik Shahadah. For the accomplishment of this score Sona invented a new instrument which she named the ‘Nkora’. Drawing on her skills as a producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist this body of work sees Sona pioneering a new genre in Africa cinematic music.


One of Sona’s most captivating qualities is her voice. Although only pursuing her ability to sing later in life, she has fast been gaining a reputation for her voice alone. Most recently Sona’s vocals were featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” which was released in the United Kingdom in January 2014.


Over the past four years Sona has been carefully piecing together her band. Forming a UK-based band that is both sympathetic and sensitive to the subtle idioms of the Kora repertoire has not been an easy task, but Sona has now put together a group of inspiring musicians from different parts of Africa who manage to render her music beautifully onstage, whilst still embodying each of their own diverse musical identities. Whether the full band or a smaller acoustic ensemble, this group of musicians never fail to bring a rich, revitalising energy to the stage.


Date City Venue Country
27/01/18 Wroclaw Red Hall NFM PL
Time: 8:30pm. Admission: 60 pln. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Plac Wolności 1,. Venue phone: +48 71 715 98 00. SOLD OUT
01/02/18 Leeds Howards Assembly Rooms UK
Time: 7:45pm. Admission: £20.00. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +44 (0)844 848 2720. Address: 46 New Briggate. Venue phone: +44 (0)844 848 2700.
02/02/18 London King’s Place UK
Time: 7:45pm. Admission: £21.50. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 020 7520 1490. Address: 90 York Way. Venue phone: +44 (0) 20 7520 1440.
09/02/18 Budapest Mupa Budapest HU
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 3500 HUF. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Komor Marcell u. 1.. Venue phone: +36 1 555 3000. SOLD OUT
Tour: SONA JOBARTEH Spring 2018
22/02/18 Cambridge Cambridge Corn Exchange UK
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: £18. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 01223 357851. Address: 2 Wheeler St,. Venue phone: 01223 357851.
23/02/18 Biel Le Singe CH
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: 35CHF. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +41 32 322 48 22. Address: Untergasse 21. Venue phone: +41 32 322 48 22.
24/02/18 Gschwend Gemeindehalle DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 26€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 (0) 180 6050400. Address: Steingasse 15,. Venue phone: +49 7972 245.
25/02/18 Tubingen, Baden Sudhaus DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 23€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 7071 74696. Address: Hechinger Str. 203. Venue phone: +49 7071 74696. Buy Tickets
27/02/18 Dortmund Domicil DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 25€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 (0) 231-8629030. Address: Hansastr. 7-11. Venue phone: +49 (0) 231-8629030. Buy Tickets
28/02/18 Hannover Kulturzentrum Pavillon DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 22€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 (0) 511 235555-0
. Address: Lister Meile 4
. Venue phone: +49 (0) 511 235555-0
. Buy Tickets
01/03/18 Karlsruhe Jubez DE
Time: 8:30pm. Admission: 19€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 (0) 721-33048. Address: Kronenplatz 1,. Venue phone: +49 (0) 721-33048. Buy Tickets
02/03/18 Offenberg Reithalle im Kulturforum DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 23€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +49 (0) 781-822576. Address: Moltkestraße 31. Venue phone: +49 (0) 781-822576. Buy Tickets
03/03/18 Innsbruck Treibhaus AT
Time: 9:00pm. Admission: 18€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: +43 512 572000. Address: Angerzellgasse 8 am Volksgarten. Venue phone: +43 512 572000. Buy Tickets
04/03/18 Einbeck Beim Esel DE
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: 22€. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 00 49 5561 82562. Address: Deichstr. 11 ,. Venue phone: 00 49 5561 82562. Buy Tickets

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