Pa Bobo Jobarteh - Master Kora Player

Pa Bobo Jobarteh is a master kora player from Brikama in the Gambia. The kora is the West African Harp made from a large gourd (vegetable) with 21 strings made from fishing line as seen in the picture to the left.

 

This year Pa Bobo visited the UK and played with Tom Toomey and the Monfi Cats at Music for Africa. Pa was concerned that the tradition of the Kora would die out if he could not pass on the skills he has learned. To help him Music for Africa has stepped in and is now supporting this fantastic project with the help of our local community.

 

A drum kit and £400 raised by Dave Nixon and Mary Ashby of the Fleur de Lis in Stoke sub Hamdon has been sent to the project in the Gambia. With the money Pa has made 15 Koras for his village so that the programme of teaching the instrument can begin.

 

Pa Bobo was born into one of The Gambia’s most famous Jali families, a family whose musical tradition in West Africa began many generations ago in the eighteenth century. His father is Malamini Jobarteh, his grandfather was Kelung Jobarteh and his great grandfather Wandifery Jobarteh, all of whom were masters of the kora.

 

Pa Bobo started playing the kora when he was 6 years old and in 1988, at the age of 11, he performed at WOMAD in the UK to large audiences both in Cornwall and Reading. Since then Pa has played to audiences throughout the world. His song Peace, Love and Unity has become an unofficial national anthem and is played daily on Gambian radio and television.