Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

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Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

Although this remarkable London-raised woman from West Africa is acknowledged as a rare female kora player from her griot family (Toumani Diabate is a cousin), she is also a strong advocate and exemplar of women's rights, has her own Gambia Academy which is a cultural centre which she underwrites (see here) and has taken her music and opinions to festivals and forums around the world.

And she is coming to this year's Womad in Taranaki.

womad_logoThis album from 2015 is her third and most recent and was recorded in The Gambia and the UK.

Now while the gorgeous sound of the kora is here, it is just one part of the mix of 11 pop-length songs featuring ngoni, flute, traditional percussion and bass.

But it is her soft yet powerful, highly melodic voice (multi-tracked into subtle choral proportions in places) which are an equal enticement.

A multi-instrumentalist (cello, piano, guitar and harp in addition to kora) classically-trained in Britain in composition, with a degree in African Culture and Linguistic, and who has written for orchestra and soundtracks (as well as being a vocal soloist in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Jobarteh has been identified as one of the most influential and accomplished artists on a world music stage anywhere.

With this album if you come for the kora you will be seduced by the songs and her subtle delivery.

Her appearances at Womad will be a highpoint of the weekend.

WOMAD New Zealand 2019 will see the festival celebrate its 15th anniversary in the stunning 55-acre Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, 15-17 March 2019.

For further information and ticketing see the official Womad site here.

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