Wednesday, June 19 @ 8:15pm
Sona Jobarteh’s gorgeous, uplifting music has the unique ability to connect across all boundaries. Absolutely one of the most unique artists to play Top of the Park, the London-born kora virtuoso is a pioneer of the 21-string African harp, one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau). Jobarteh has reinvented the legacy of the kora by becoming the first female kora master to have emerged from an established family of West African griots, reaching back seven generations, thus overturning a long-held hereditary tradition that restricted kora instruction to males only. She has been described by The Guardian as “Africa’s first female griot kora virtuoso, and also a fine singer and composer, blending traditional music, blues and Afropop to impressive effect,” as well as “a griot for a new generation of West Africans” by BBC Radio. Likewise reputed for her distinctive voice, infectious melodies, and grace onstage, she has rapidly risen to international success following the release of her critically acclaimed album Fasiya (Heritage) in 2011. In recent years, she has headlined major festivals in Brazil, India, South Korea, Ghana, Mexico, Tanzania, Côte D’Ivoire, Lithuania, Poland, and Malaysia and has written songs for many Hollywood feature films, including Roots and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.