Mourning the kora icon, Hassoum Ceesay, director general of National Centre for Arts and Culture, who spoke to this medium in a telephone interview described Tatadinding as a legend who had contributed lots and brought positive changes to The Gambia’s kora music and music in general in the country.
“The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on behalf of his Excellency President Adama Barrow and minister of Tourism and Culture Honorable Hamat N.K. Bah, Gambia Music Union and artistes in general, we join the Gambia community in mourning the demise of Tatadinding Jobarteh, who had contributed greatly to Gambia’s music,” DG Ceesay expressed.
In a sad mood, Hassoum Ceesay, also a great historian, said The Gambia has lost a cultural icon, ambassador and a great promoter of kora and Gambian music.
He echoed that the late Tatadinding during his lifetime had promoted kora and Gambian music both locally and internationally, “he attended several international festivals which included WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance) in UK, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (known as Festival of the Dhow countries) Tanzania and many other international festivals in which he showcased the kora and also promoted Gambia arts and music.”
Locally he also said, “until recently when he was even not feeling well he participated in the first Kora Awards held in Semega Janneh Hall which was meant to recognise the roles of the great Gambian kora players like Amadou Bansang Jobarteh, Alagie Mbye Conteh, Jali Yanma Suso, late Alagie Mbye and so on.”
“He contributed a lot to the development of The Gambia Television, and this is important taking into consideration the role of TV in promoting Gambian arts and culture. Also brought a lot of positive changes to Gambian music because with Jalibah Kuyateh, they are the first to really setup fused or joined kora with other musical instruments. Thus before, kora was played solo by the great ‘jalis.’ But under Tatadinding and Jalibah, the Kora players widening their scope to start having musical band in which the kora is the lead,” he explained.
He dilated further on his lifetime achievements in Gambian music, saying he recorded lots of albums and participated in lots of international music projects with American and British artistes and even in a film with an Austrian filmmaker, too, “in the name of promoting the kora as a musical instrument,” the historian disclosed.
Further to his dedication to his work, he said Tatadinding did not allow his sickness to have impact on his music career “because as early as this January he participated in a big concert for the Nyacho family whereby the hall was full to capacity while he sat on a chair to play his kora as eloquently and greatly as possible. It is a great pain but he was a brave man that was highly dedicated and determined to perform and promote The Gambian culture and music on stage.”