Dawda Jobarteh

Dawda Jobarteh
Dawda Jobarteh
Dawda Jobarteh
Dawda Jobarteh's String Project - 2022


Dawda Jobarteh, 2022, Sterns Music
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Live at Pallladium, Malmö 2022
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Line up

  • Anna Kolby Sonstad (Violin)
  • Dawda Jobarteh (Kora, Vocals)
  • Jonathan Dembele (Bass)
  • Maria Kolby Sonstad (Cello)
  • Maria Vara de Alba (Viola )
  • Salieu Dibba (Percussion, Backing Vocals)


A highly unique sound universe between folk and afro jazz from two very different musical traditions.

The Denmark resident Gambian musician and composer Dawda Jobarteh is one of the biggest enrichments to the world music scene. He not only amplifies his instrument, the kora, a traditional West African harp and puts it through effects loops and distortion sounds to transfer it masterfully into the here and now - as a wanderer between the cultural heritages of West Africa as well as Northern Europe he is equally at home in both worlds. Out of that background he skillfully creates a highly unique sound universe between folk and afro jazz from two very different musical traditions, drawing on influences from two century-long historical cultures while still being firmly rooted in the modern age.

But Jobarteh´s excellence is clearly not limited to music: As a scion of West Africa‘s most famous griot family, whose career as a professional percussionist started at the age of 12, Jobarteh was born into a family tree with decades of musical heritage. In the tradition of the griots, the musicians, not unlike the blues singers, not only have the duties of keeping the music alive, but also to preserve and tell historic tales . So it's of little wonder that Jobarteh's lyrics are as empathetic and wise as the music of this man oscillating between the cultural contrasts of his adopted Northern European home and his West African native on his tours around the globe.

NEW PROJECT 2022: Dawda Jobarteh's String Project - An eclectic, lyrical fusion of kora with strings
In his new project, “Dawda Jobarteh & The Strings” he does what he has made his speciality over the years: he challenges and explores the kora and its possibilities by moving from playing it classically traditional, in a rocky way with guitar effects and in a syncopated jazz manner. This time he involves Western classical strings in lyrical arrangements, but these traditions are also expanded and challenged in the encounter with Dawda’s compositions and musical universe.

If you take a look at Jobarteh´s previous development, it becomes crystal clear that one of West Africa's biggest musical treasures lies in Scandinavia!

On this album, the 4th to be released via Sterns Music, Dawda's musical partners are a string quartet whose instrumentation – two violins, one viola and a cello – has been an essential component of Western classical music since at least the times of Mozart. The lush sound of the “Admeta String Quartet” with arrangements scored by Dawda along with saxophonist and composer Jens Christian 'Chappe' Jensen, are on all tracks and are unique to this album.
Guest vocalist Julie Hjetland, a winner of the Danish Music Folk Award and first heard with Dawda on his 2nd album, appears on two songs. One has lyrics by American singer and Copenhagen resident, Deborah Herbert, while words for the other English song were written by Dutch singer and teacher, Leonie de Wit. On the opposite side of this musical spectrum lie Dawda's own arrangements of traditional Gambian repertoire; “Sunjata” and “Tutu Jara”, and all is held together by his original and engrossing instrumental compositions and performances.
Born of an ancient lineage, Dawda Jobarteh continues to explore and expand his musical traditions.