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Jaliba Kuyateh

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The artist Jaliba Kuyateh, often known as the "King of The Kora", has made the ancient and very traditional Mande music of the Mandinka into what is sometimes called call Kora pop. The Kora maestro with his group, the Kumareh Band, Kuyateh continues to unite the old and modern worlds with his exciting, uplifting performances.

Jaliba, who can trace his roots back to Mali, is the son of Kebba Sunti Kuyateh (also a Kora player) and Bakoto Mbye. He began playing the 21-stringed instrument early in life at the tender age of five.

Although he showed talent on the instrument, he stopped playing after two years in order to commence his primary school education. He returned to playing the Kora in 1977, while he was at the Gambia Teachers Training College. After graduation he was assigned to teach mathematics at Brikama Primary School. In 1979 he formed  a traditional band called the Jaliba & Group. The group soon got big fame, and songs like "Tesito Be Gambia " and "Kaira Silo Mang jara fa" (the road to peace is never too long) shone the torch-light on them.

Although he studied other traditional instruments during a course break from school in 1986, music remained more of a pastime. While he continued to play with his band, Kuyateh began working with the Ministry of Education, youth, sports, and culture following his graduation in 1991.

Kuyateh's love of music proved irresistible. Within a year, he voluntarily retired from his government job and turned his full-time attention to music. With only two members of his band agreeing to continue working with him, Kuyateh formed the group as the Kumareh Band. The group's success came quickly. In addition to touring France in 1993 and Spain, Kuyateh & his group released their debut album, "Radio Kantang", in 1993. The album sold more than 15,000 copies. Two albums, "Dajukah" and "Tissoli" (Sneeze), followed in 1994. Following the release of their fourth album, Hera "Banku", in 1995, Kuyateh & the Kumareh Band toured the US releasing another album entitled "Live in America".

In 1996, the album, "Gambia Third Day" was released. 1997 was a concert year for the band. They were engaged in chains of concerts and the next album entitled "Njai Kunda" came in 1998. On the 3rd of May, 1999, he released his 8th album entitled "Fankanta" into the music market. It included tracks such as FAO (Telefood), Fankanta, Lottery, Zone 2, Pop FLE, Kanu Badingya, and Saabo and Family.

In March 2001 the he released an album in cassette volumes one and two, and in CD which were promoted by Oko Drammeh.

In February 2002 he toured the US including the One World Theatre Austin, Texas. Other albums by Jaliba Kuyateh followed culminating in Sosolaso and Sabarla released in 2009.

On the 4th July 2007 Jaliba was awarded a certificate of recognition from the Brufut Marathon Run Association (BMRA) for his outstanding contribution in promoting Gambia culture through music Kora.

During his leisure time he listens to mostly Guinean & Fula music.

Discography / Music Downloads:
Video      Website

Radio Kantang: 1993
Tissoli: 1994, Dajukah: 1994
Live in America:1995, Hera Banku:1995
Gambia 3rd Day: 1996
Njai Kunda: 1998
Fan Kanta: 1999
Best Of Jaliba Kuyateh: 2000
Sosolaso and Sabarla: 2009

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