The 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.
Jaliba, 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 on
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 in 1991.
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 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
Kuyateh followed culminating in Sosolaso and Sabarla released
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 &
• Radio Kantang: 1993
• Tissoli: 1994, Dajukah: 1994
• Live in America:1995, Hera Banku:1995
• Gambia 3rd Day: 1996
• Njai Kunda: 1998
• Fan Kanta: 1999
• Best Of Jaliba Kuyateh: 2000
• Sosolaso and Sabarla: 2009