Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Jali Nyama Suso - 1986.Sep.10 Kershaw Session

Jali Nyama Suso 1984 [photo by Dagmar Gebers, source: fmp-label]

To follow-up the Mbira from Zimbabwe with the Kora from West-Africa felt like a very good idea, so I looked which special recordings I have. That appeared to be a repeat of two tracks of a 1986 Radio Session by Jali Nyama Suso, which seemed to be an Andy Kershaw session. So checked the recently found Andy Kershaw fansite [see the post about Oumou Sangare's 1993 Session] and found there two other tracks, which on closer hearing appeared to be the [almost] complete session. Almost because at least one track, which I had already in the repeat version, is edited.

About Jali Nyama Suso

Jali Nyama Suso from Bakau (born circa 1925; died 1991) is acknowledged as one of the greatest kora players of the 20th century. Born Mohamadu Lamin Suso, Jali Nyama was one of the first artists to bring the kora to international attention through his work as a performer, teacher and historian.
By the age of 8 he was already playing the kora but his career as a griot was severely hampered at the age of 16 by the loss of his leg. However, undeterred, he moved into radio in 1956 and went on to establish his own weekly radio show which ran for over 20 years.
In 1971 he was invited to teach at the University of Washington where he recorded his first album, Gambie: L’Art de la Kora - Jali Nyama Suso. This was the first international album of solo kora which featured him both playing and singing. He also contributed as a Gambian historical advisor to Alex Haley in the celebrated world-wide television series, Roots.
In the 80’s he toured in UK, France, Sweden and Germany leaving his distinct artistic imprint on the world. He is remembered by kora players for his brilliance of tone and his distinctive colours and timbres he brought to the instrument. He is also remembered as the composer of the Gambia national anthem which is based on the traditional melody of Fode Kabba. He passed away in 1991 from tuberculosis after several years of illness.
source: [incl.short video!]

Listen to Lucy [in edited version]

SUSO JALI NYAMA - 19860910 Kershaw Session BBC

BBC 1986.Sep.10 Kershaw Session - bc.1986.Oct.02 BBC Radio 1 Andy Kershaw
tracklist: 1.Jali Nyama Suso* / 2.Lucy* [edit] / 3.Kuruntu Kelefa* / 4.Sunkariba*

rpt.of above session 2019.Jul.29, BBC 6music Gideon Coe
tracklist: 2.Lucy* / 3.Kuruntu Kelefa*

And I have a bonus again: The Kora Trail a 1998 BBC Radio special with Lucy Duran telling about her adventures in Gambia, Senegal and Mali. After she fell in love with the music of the Kora, she wanted to learn to play the Kora herself and stayed in a small village on the Gambia river.
The audio is from a real audio, which I some years ago succeeded to downstream, after having discovered the original link through The audio has some glitches, but don't let that hinder you listening to Lucy's great story.
All further background info about this program I have found is included in the download.

More about and with the Kora

  • Making the Kora - Documentary [1970, enbedded video from vimeo; 14:06] -
  • Kasse Mady & the African Classical Music Ensemble feat.Tunde Jegede on Kora - live filmed on the banks of the Niger in Mali - vimeo
  • Towards a Notation and Tablature for the Kora and its Application to Other Instruments - 1971.Jul.07, article by Roderick Knight, published in African Music Vol.5 No.1 (1971)
  • The Making of a Kora - re-edited film by Anthony King shot 1970 in Gambia - vimeo
  • Jali Nyama Muso - Kora Music from Gambia - bandcamp
    listen to tracknr.1: Jula Dekaray
  • VA - African Journey - A Search for the Roots of the Blues Vol.1 [LP, 1974, Sonet #SNTP.666]
    posted at music-republic-world-traditional - recordings made by Samuel Charters with 2 tracks by Jali Nyama Suso


"il faut me pardonner - you must forgive me"

Pap Djah's last words before left on his own in the Sahara desert (in Niger)

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