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.
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
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
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.
/ Music Downloads:
• Radio Kantang: 1993
Tissoli: 1994, Dajukah: 1994
• Live in America:1995,
• Gambia 3rd Day: 1996
• Njai Kunda: 1998
• Fan Kanta: 1999
• Best Of Jaliba Kuyateh: 2000
and Sabarla: 2009