Skip to main content

Gambian Griot Kora Duets

Alhaji Bai Konte, Dembo Konte, Ma Lamini Jobate
Gambian Griot Kora Duets album cover
Gambian Griot Kora Duets product shot

New vinyl reissue remastered from the original 1970s master tapes, packaged in classic Folkways-style tip-on jackets with original liner notes.

The hypnotic, delicate sound of the kora, the harp-like instrument strung on a halved gourd, has been a trademark of West African music for centuries. Gambian Griot Kora Duets (1979), featuring the master player Alhaji Bai Konte and his equally influential son Dembo Konte and Ma Lamini Jobate, is a remarkable recording that documents an evolution in the kora’s use in the traditional music of the Gambia. The album, made in Dembo and Alhjai Bai Konte’s living space, shows the musicians incorporating complex, polyrhythmic arrangements. Though these musicians are intrinsically linked to the Jali tradition of griot families in West Africa, in which kora players are the historians and record keepers of local cultures, these recordings, with their stylistic flourishes, marked a new beginning for international interest in the kora. Dembo Konte went on to tour internationally, performing on John Peel’s legendary BBC program in 1989 and collaborating with the influential group Mustaphas 3.

This reissue is part of the Smithsonian Folkways Vinyl Reissue Series, bringing to light hidden gems from the extensive collection and revisiting some of the most iconic and influential albums released by the label. We are offering Gambian Griot Kora Duets along with the vinyl reissues of Tuareg Music of the Southern Sahara, and Calypso Ballads as a Vinyl Bundle with Bonus Folkways Slipmat.

Track Listing

icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Sutukung Kumbu Sora and Solo (Tomora Ba Tuning) Alhaji Bai Konte and Dembo Konte 08:02
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Tutu Jara (Sauta Tuning) Alhaji Bai Konte and Dembo Konte 09:22
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Jembasengo (Tomora Ba Tuning) Dembo Konte and Ma Lamini Jobate 03:44
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Darisalami Amad Fal (Tomora Ba Tuning) Alhaji Bai Konte and Dembo Konte with Jabu Sau, Yangkui Kuiyate, and Koli-Koli Sambo 10:00
icon-circle-play svg-new-pause-button
Yeyengo - High Life Tune (Tomora Ba Tuning) Dembo Konte and Ma Lamini Jobate 11:00