The first Edition of Gambia International Kora and Cultural Festival 2022

The Gambia is set for its first edition of International Kora and Cultural Festival from February 24 - 27, 2022 at Jama Hall, Kairaba Beach Hotel Senegambia.

The spectacular event will showcase live performances of over 30 Kora artists, cultural groups from different ethnic groups, Gambian and African musical icons and other artists across four stages.

The event will commence with a unique official opening ceremony on February 24th, 2022, at Jama Hall.

It will attract live broadcasts from different TV channels and will be widely published in newspapers, magazines and other media worldwide.

From February 24 – 26, there will be a powerful showcase of the melodious 21-string instrument (Kora) with the Kora artists displaying skills in synchronizing and harmonizing sound to a produced unrivalled symphony. 

The purpose of the festival is to inform the world about the Kora – its origin, significance in the cultural music of the West African nations, both the past and present-day music world.

It also seeks to promote The Gambia’s rich culture, tourism, encourage cultural collaboration and create opportunities for Gambian artists and cultural troupes by connecting them with other international artists.

“As a festival of unification for Gambian and international artists, it will create opportunities, a platform for upcoming Kora players, and established Kora players worldwide,” said Mr Saloum Sheriff Janko director of the festival, at Artists in Alliance for Arts and Culture (AAAC).

AAAC is a nonprofit organization for the promotion of mutual understanding between different cultures by means of collaborative programmes of education, tourism, arts and culture and environment for sustainable development.

About the Kora Festival:

The Gambia Kora and Cultural Festival will educate and entertain and will take our followers to the ancient and modern traditional music centre.

It also seeks to provide a platform for meeting and exchange between musicians and music industry professionals.

The first Edition of Gambia International Kora and Cultural Festival 2022 will include a number of showcases, conferences, workshops, symposiums, seminars, live performances and masterclasses, and host about 200 international delegates.

Kora is a unique Mandinka instrument with a body made from a calabash gourd cut in half round and partially covered with animal skin for decoration. It is constructed with twenty-one playing strings and plucked by the thumb and forefinger of each hand.

The origin of the Kora is surrounded by legends and folklores; with many different stories about when it first came into existence and where it originated from, but many historians including the late Jali Alhagie Mbaye said, Kora originated from the West African nation of The Gambia.

Kora is just one of the instruments used within the jali (griot) families of the Mande (Mandinka) people in West Africa – found in Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal and The Gambia other parts of Africa.

“Its main objective is to promote diversity of Gambian and international artists and projects linking the Africans and the world music and cultural markets altogether,” organizers say.

The event will be the first International Kora and Cultural festival on Gambian soil, as several attempts were made for the event went futile, but not like this year event.

It will be held at Jama Hall Kairaba Beach Hotel for the first time and promises to deliver a succession of stand-out performances from artists from the Gambian and beyond.

In honour of its first birthday, Kora has added a veritable feast of musical activities to this year’s event and also send the West African nation name to the world about the rich culture and synonymous to the warm welcoming of tourists.

This Year Kora Festival will feature a plethora of artists on different stages performing live February 24 – 26, 2022; and this show will showcase not only The Gambia but Africa’s rich glamour culture and after the event s Certificates will be award to the participating artists on Sunday 27 February 2022.

As part of efforts to promote the Gambian and African culture internationally, it also aims to inform the whole world about the 21-string instrument originated from The Gambia. 

February 24 will be a workshop and symposium where Kora experts will deliver on the history of Kora and how it has reached the other part of the world.

They are also working on modalities with music and cultural institutions, organizations, Gambian and international promoters, musicians and film-makers to create more opportunities for participation in international events that will enable them to have cultural collaboration and requisite knowledge in the art.

This will also trigger a discussion with both the National Council for Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism on how best Gambian music can be promoted in our national radio and TV stations.

We believe that our artists will improve on their skills and knowledge if we give them the support they deserve rather than preferring foreign musicians to our own artists. 

Next year more Gambian artists will participate in series of international events because some music schools have expressed interest to attend the festival to meet some artists for potential partnership.

The event is organized by Artists in Alliance for Arts and Culture  (AAAC) a nonprofit making organization in The  Gambia with the aims and objectives to promote  Arts and Culture,  promote mutual understanding among genres of Cultures by means of collaborative programmes of Education, Tourism,  Environment, Arts and culture for global peace and sustainable development, with Kanifing Municipal Council, Gambia Ministry of Tourism and Culture and National Council for Arts and Culture.

Jaliba Kuyateh, Lamin Jobarteh {Alias King Kora}, Jali Ansumana Suso, Buba Mbaye, Jali Kebba Kuyateh, Jali Ngali Mbaye, Jali Sorrie Suso, Muhamadou  Saho,  Jali Neneh Suso, Jali Manda Kuyateh, Jali Kaddy Suso, Jali  Sambou  Suso, F.O Suso, Jali Mba Rokey Kanuteh, Jali Mariatou Jobarteh,  Jali Fanta  Kanuteh,  Lamin Suso, Pa Bobo Jobarteh, Sulayman Jobarteh, Jali Burama Saho, Jali Kebba Omar Conteh, Mafu Conteh, Chihiro Kinebuchi of Japan, Lamin Sesokho,  a Senegalese based in Sweden, Pet Sosseh Stefan Charisius from Germany and many more artists will perform at the much talked about the international festival.

Nine Gambian Female Artists to perform at International Kora and Cultural Festival in The Gambia

As Gambian iconic kora musician and singer, Sona Jobarteh may is among the invited international artists to perform at The Gambia International Kora and Cultural Festival other 9  top female Gambian kora artists including  Jali Neneh Suso, Jali Manda Kuyateh, Jali Kaddy Suso, Jali  Sambou  Suso,  Jali  Mis Ma  Suso, F.O. Suso, Jali Mba Rokey Kanuteh, Jali Mariatou Jobarteh,  Jali Fanta  Kanuteh, Pet Sosseh, and  Jali Aida Faal will perform.

We are glad that we have a top female artist who has shown interest to participate and take centre stage in the first edition of the Gambia International Kora and Cultural Festival.

Most of the participants are iconic artists and have performed in several concerts both in The Gambia and abroad.

The participation of these top iconic female kora artists will encourage more female participation in The Gambia’s kora music industry which has been affected by the increasing lack of encouragement.

The artists will showcase their talents at the Gambian Kora show biz as well as encourage young girls from the griot families and interested youngsters to start learning their cultural music and take full ownership of it to pass it on to their children and generation yet unborn.

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