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Jali Musa Jawara


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Guinean singer and composer Djeli Mousa Diawara is foremost among world players of the Kora, the African harp-lute of the Manding peoples of the Senegambia. Born in Guinea in 1961 into a family whose musical roots span generations, his father was a famous player of the balafon (Africa’s wooden cousin to the xylophone), and his mother sang. He joined his family as a member of the djeli (or jali) caste - the honored griots who carry a tradition of reciting town news through improvised lyrics and melody on the kora. Like his half-brother, Mory Kante, and cousin, Kante Manfila, he was drilled by his elders in music, instrumental technique and a millennium’s worth of oral history and genealogies.

The kora is a demanding instrument, consisting of two parallel rows of strings attached to a notched bridge on a resonating gourd, and Djeli’s confident command of it is the result of a lifetime of study and practice. He learned the fine points of playing the kora from a brilliant performer named Batourou Sekou and gradually forged an individual style.

In the late 70s, Djeli visited Abidjan, Ivory Coast and performed for a time with the legendary Rail Band in Bamako, Mali. He eventually went solo, working with Djenne Doumbia, a remarkable singer who later graced Salif Keita’s band. A British label put out his first LP, “Yasimika,” in 1983 and it is revered today as one of the finest African albums of all time. Following a series of false starts, he began to record for the Paris-based Melodie label, and his works were rapturously received by the press and public.

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    16 Dec 2013 Reply
  • cybearDJM

    In 2010, Djeli Moussa Diawara (Jali Musa Jawara is his anglicised name) went back to the studio... Discover his new releases, including the remastered version of his 1st LP "Yasimika"!

    30 Dec 2010 Reply
  • whatd0y0uw4nt

    it's taken me nigh on 7 years to get a hold of the first album (on opal) on cd - i originally heard it on john peel in the eighties - i travelled literally round the world looking for it. (from the uk to the us then to oz)... finally got it.

    22 Jun 2009 Reply
  • PandaGetSad

    i love this band!!!!

    8 Mar 2009 Reply

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