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Biography of Sona Maya JOBARTEH

Mali > Music : Sona Maya JOBARTEH

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Biography :

Sona Maya Sona Jobarteh (b. in 1983), is a Malian musician.

Sona (Maya) Jobarteh is a member of one of the five principal Kora-playing (Griot) families from West Africa. She is the granddaughter of the Master Griot of his generation, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, and cousin of the well-known, celebrated Kora player Toumani Diabate. She has studied the Kora since the age of three, and gave her first performance at London’s Jazz Café when she was four.

Sona attended the Royal College of Music where she studied cello, piano and harpsichord, and soon after went onto the Purcell School of Music to study composition. During this time she was involved in working on several orchestral projects including the ‘River of Sound’ with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, featuring Evelyn Glennie, and other collaborative works including performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Milton Keynes City Orchesrtra and the Viva Chamber Orchestra.

In 2002 Sona travelled to Vienna to perform with the renowned Jazz vocalist Cleveland Watkiss, also forming a part of his support act for Cassandra Wilson at the Barbican in London. She also featured on Damon Albarn’s Mali Music Project which was later performed for Jools Holland.

As a performing musician Sona has collaborated with musicians from around the world, and is a regular member of the African Classical Music Ensemble which has toured England, Ireland, Africa and parts of the Caribbean. She has contributed to the well-established composer/musician Tunde Jegede’s albums Malian Royal Court Music and Lamentations, for which she composed two pieces, one of which also featured on the album Trans Planet Vol. 5 which was released on Triloka records, Virgin in the states. Sona also works with the distinguished spoken word artist HKB FiNN as an instrumentalist, co-writer, singer and producer.

Having completed her degree at SOAS University, Sona now divides her time as a performer and teacher of the Kora, sharing its repertoire and history with a new generation of people interested in learning about this most exquisite instrument. Sona recently completed her debut album entitled 'Afro Acoustic Soul', which expresses and explores the many facets of her unique musical heritage. She is currently working on the music for the forthcoming film ‘Motherland’ (to be screened in 2009), directed by the renowned, film-maker Owen Shahadah, who is creator of the multi award-winning ‘500 Years Later’.
Sona’s second album is due out later this year which draws on her legacy as a Kora player and vocalist from the Griot tradition of West Africa.




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Last update : 09/07/2015

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