The Kora Maestro Is an Icon on Traditional Music
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) Jaliba Kuyateh, a well known Kora player and the leader of the Kumereh Band of Brikama, has been designated “Man of the Year 2009” by The Gambia News and Report weekly magazine, the first Gambian musician to receive the award.
Going by a press release obtained by The North Bank Evening Standard on Friday 1st January, Mr. Sweabou Conateh, the Publisher of Gambia News and Report weekly magazine stated that Jaliba’s selection was because of the way he has, “with modern education background, developed his own brand of the music of the Kora to a level never known for his brand of music, standing out as most innovative, the most creative and fascinating player of the instrument in today’s Gambia and the sub-region.
Mr. Conateh admitted that Jaliba has been known to perform the rare feat of singing and playing the Kora simultaneously, and can be acrobatic while playing the instrument, sometime even using his teeth or leaning all the way down as he plays it.
He added that watching him in action is a spectacle one cannot easily forget: “With your overwhelming stage presence, you flawlessly swing around, jump up and down and dance rhythmically while at all times in full control of the Kora as you play it”.
According to Conateh, Jaliba Kuyateh put his prolific output as a musician towards espousing, cultural values through populist songs replete with words of wisdom and guidance as well as progressive causes for national unity and development, such as women’s affairs, education, health, gender empowerment and the environment.
Conateh, who is the Former Director of the state, owned Radio Gambia also pointed out that the singer has attained high regard in official, non-official and international circles, “and the Kora star have become the nation’s musical voice and now ranked first in national terms.”
He also observed that observed that over the years, Jaliba Kuyateh have also endeared himself to audiences in various parts of the sub-region, as well as in Europe, Asia and America.
“Despite his crowded schedule and the popular demand for him and the Kumareh Band, he still remains the most available player in The Gambia today, continuing to support many worthy causes as he plays to audiences in school halls, cinema halls, village gathering , stadium, playing grounds and wrestling arenas and charging very minimal fees or virtually nothing for a performance”, the veteran journalist observed.
Consequently, the management of “The Gambia News and Report” is satisfied that he has met the following criteria for selecting “Man of the Year” – The person selected must be some one who, through his/her work, profession or personal endeavour, is judged to have contributed the most to the public welfare and to advancing the country’s development in the interest of all Gambians.
He/she must have contributed significantly in enhancing in a direct and tangible form, the social and economic status of Gambians as a whole.
He or she should have put in place for posterity facilities and or infrastructures and other achievements that can serve as a lasting memorial of his or her contributions to national development, the release stated. VOL:2 ISSN:10