Jaliba Kuyateh is a highly respected Gambian griot artist who has contributed greatly to the promotion of Gambian culture and the development of African and Gambian music in particular. He has composed many songs conveying messages to the people on social issues and rendered services free of charge to build schools, religious centers and health centers.
As a child during the ages of five to seven years, Jaliba was trained on the kora - a 21-stringed musical instrument, mainly found in countries along the west coast of Africa. This happened through his father, who was also a kora player.
At this time, if he did anything wrong, his father used the kora as a form of punishment by giving him a tune to learn before he was allowed to go out and play with his friends!
When he reached school age, Jaliba almost left the kora completely, apart from during leisure time. Only when he entered the Gambia Teachers Training College did he become interested in the instrument again. During his college course, he was with the kora constantly, and rapidly became known by all Gambians as well as in other West African countries because of his performances and interviews on national radio.
Jaliba Kuyateh has established himself as the foremost "cultural ambassador of Gambia," performing at international festivals in Senegal, Ghana and Spain, touring the U.S.A., as well as European countries such as England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Courtesy Calabash Music