Story written by Hatab Nyang
Welcome to another Edition of the Arts and Music, the Column that informs and entertains the readership on Gambian arts, music and culture. In this week’s edition of the Column, we inform the readership about the upcoming Album launch by the Leader of Touba Kaira Band and his meeting with Halifa Sallah and other related information.
During his meeting with this reporter in an interview, the leader of Touba Kaira band and lead vocalist of the group Pa Bobo Jobarteh, spoke about the launching of his Album on ‘System Change’, scheduled for the 25th of June 2021 at the Brikama youth center.
According to Pa Bobo, the name of the Album is ‘Alallu Mbolomi’ a Wollof dialect meaning ‘public wealth’ or wealth which all belongs to all. He said the Album has 12 tracks and features the flag bearers of almost all the political parties in the country.
When asked why and what is so special about this album, Pa Bobo responded he composed this Album as a piece of advice all political leaders not to misuse our national wealth and for them to ensure that the peace and love between families in the Gambia is maintained at all times, ‘NO MATTER WHAT’ (he stressed).
According to Pa Bobo, the new Album talks about Halifa Sallah’s system change, in order to give the Gambia a fresh start to move forward as a developing country.
‘‘Alallu Mbolomi’’ is the name of my new Album and it mainly advises our political leaders to utilize our national wealth judiciously for the interest of everyone. Our country needs good roads, continuous electricity, adequate and good health services, good education for our children, and other social amenities for the people. This is why I want to take this opportunity through this interview, to invite all of them to attend my Album launch on the 25th of June 2021 at the Brikama youth center, so that when they return to their supporters they can talk to them and inculcate the idea of changing this country for the better. The Gambia is one big family and what happened to us during the past regime, is unacceptable to the extent that we are all responsible for that mistake. This is the reason why I call on the secretary general and flag bearer of PDOIS Halifa Sallah, the architect of ‘System Change’, to grace the occasion, together with all other political leaders like Mai Ahmed Fatty, the flag bearer of GMC, Ousainou Darboe, the flag bearer of UDP, President Adama Barrow of the NPP and all other political leaders. I also invite Ebrahima Tabora Manneh, Ebrahima Fallo Sanneh, Karamba Janneh, Lamin Fatou Jammeh, Ladies Corners and ‘System Change’ brothers.’’
‘‘The Album launch is to support Kaira Kunda Foundation’s phase two Music School in Kombo Sanyang. Kaira Kunda Foundation’s phase one Music School is in Kombo Brikama which has been completed and students have started learning about music including different nationa and African musical instruments. Kaira Kunda Foundation’s phase two has to be accomplished and this is one of the reasons why I am launching this Album to raise funds for the project. The fencing needs to be secured and the building and gate need to be completed. If completed, Kaira Foundation’s phase two project will accommodate people from Sanyang, and it’s satellite villages and also students from throughout the world at large. So we welcome cash or kind from all and sundry in order to be able to complete this project,’’ Pa Bobo said.
Pa Bobo Jobarteh hails from a traditional griot or ‘Jali’ family in the Gambia and his father was a famous Kora player who was also the leader of Gambia National Troup. His father taught him how to play the Kora at the tender age of seven years. By the age eleven years, Pa Bobo started travelled with his Kora instrument to the United States of America, Europe, Australia and Asia, playing and promoting different festivals.
In recent times, Gambian griots Pa Bobo and Jali Bakary Konteh have been scheduled to perform in New York’s Old Songs Festival 2022, instead of a previously scheduled date of June 25th, 26th and 27th, 2021, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The Old Songs and Philadelphia Folk Festival became digital festivals in 2020, and included the performances of some great Gambian griots. The festival promotes and preserves traditional American music and encourages Americans to keep their musical traditions alive in order to pass this to the next generation. The festival was impressed by how the ‘mandinka’ history and tradition is strongly depicted, thanks to the griots. This is why the Old Songs Festival features a special 40-minute workshop called Mandinka Musical Culture to shows how traditional griots keep music and history alive by teaching their own children, in order to bring these traditions into everyday life in the Gambia.
After being selected to represent Africa in 2020 and 2021, Pa Bobo Jobarteh and Jali Bakary Konteh have been invited to appear live in at the New York festival in 2022.