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.
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
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 them.
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 America".
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 & Fula
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