Mama Africa Band to revive Gambian traditional music

Friday, October 26, 2018

Lead vocalist of Mama Africa Band Jali Musa Jobarteh said the band is set to revive interest in traditional music across The Gambia, Music in Africa has reported. “We have lot of students in our compound learning traditional music and African griot style because we want to keep the legacy,” he said.

His comments came weeks after Waagan Fye, co-founder of the popular Open Mic Festival told Music in Africa that traditional music was not getting the attention of the younger Gambian generation. He added that a bridge between the traditional and the urban has not been constructed.

“Traditional music in its current form I couldn’t see it breaking through but miracles are possible. Our traditional artists are concentrating on the local ceremonies where they can earn their daily bread unlike the urban [acts] who are trying to build a local and international market,” he explained.

But Jobarteh insisted that he was determined to revive traditional music in the Gambia, as he had plans to train and mentor young talents in traditional music. 

“I am ready in 2019 to tour the country to sensitise young people about the importance of traditional music and the need to cherish it,” he said. He added that traditional artists are still playing our local ceremonies but we hope to eventually bridge that gap with the new generation.

Jobarteh also spoke about the success of his album Tamalalu (Travellers). He said the album was dedicated to all the travellers taking care of responsibility back home, as many households in the Gambia were being assisted by those in the diaspora. He said the first copies of the album produced were all sold during the album launch.

“We have to produce more to enable fans to get copies home and abroad. We are assuring all fans to keep supporting us. We have plans to shoot some videos for the album and continue to give good entertainment and education through the music.”

Jobarteh urged Gambian private companies and the government to include local artists in major events, as they had the same talent as foreign acts invited to perform in the country.

Author: Pa Modou Cham