Kora-player Alhaji Papa Susso, a descendant of the famous Susso family of musicians and oral historians, is a musical emissary of the Mandinka people of The Gambia in West Africa. The Mandinka are part of the larger culture of the Mande, a group of 4 million people living in and around Senegal, Mali and The Gambia that trace their ancestry to the 13th-century Mali Empire and their remarkable repertoire of songs of praise, genealogy and history to the professional caste of musicians (jalis or griots) supported for centuries by leading families and heads of state. Papa Susso hails from Sotuma-Sere, a village traditionally inhabited almost entirely by jalis who provided musical services to nearby government officials. Here he plays and sings traditional Mandinka songs, commemorating political figures and historical deeds with a mix of imploring praise, witty proverbs and delicate lyricism.
NOTES BY ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST ROD KNIGHT FEATURE EXTENSIVE HISTORY OF KORA PLAYING AND THE TRADITION OF JALIYA IN WEST AFRICA AS WELL AS SONG HISTORY AND TRANSLATIONS
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