Sponsored by David & Caroline Johnson
Sponsored in part by Savannah Rep, Harold & Peggy Yellin
Sona Jobarteh’s music stands on the mighty shoulders of the West African griot tradition; she is a living archive of the Gambian people. With one ear on the family’s historic reputation, one on the all-important future legacy and her heart in both places, she is preparing a place today for the next generation. Her singing and kora playing, while fronting her band, spring directly from this tradition. Jobarteh’s dedication to spreading powerful humanitarian messages through her songs and her stage performances makes her much more than a musician. She is active in social change and leads by example, having singlehandedly set up The Gambia Academy, a pioneering institution dedicated to achieving educational reform across the continent of Africa. The extent of her recognition today is evidenced by millions of views online, along with her worldwide touring—all this while singing in her native languages and keeping to her own creative path.
Hailing from the West African nation of Guinea, Natu Camara is one of its leading female artists. Her debut album Dimedi is a sublime blend of afro-rock, pop and soul, recorded in Mali with many of the musicians from the band of the renowned musician Salif Keita. Singing in five languages, Camara’s music speaks to the range of heroes influencing her sound: Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Mory Kanté, Fela Kuti and Baaba Maal. As a builder of bridges socially and culturally, Camara’s compositions are powerfully constructed to close the global gap between our hemispheres and bring people together. She is also a champion of humanitarian causes, having founded Natu’s Foundation to mentor and empower young girls and support the education of Guinean children.
“Preserving her heritage is Ms. Jobarteh’s passion” –THE NEW YORK TIMES