Kartong, The Gambia
Proclaimed by BBC Radio as “a griot for a new generation of West Africans,” Sona Jobarteh is proof that sometimes the most important keepers of a tradition are those who break new ground. She was born into one of the five principal griot families, whose hereditary roles were as praise singers, oral historians, and musicians of the Manden Empire. Taking up a male tradition that stretches back over seven centuries, Jobarteh is the first female kora virtuoso. Today she plays a central role in preserving this ancient art in The Gambia.