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Internationally Acclaimed Musician/Activist Sona Jobarteh Sells Out in 10 Cities of Third US Tour


Sona Jobarteh, Kora Master and Social Activist

Sona Jobarteh, Kora Master and Social Activist

Sona Jobarteh with students at The Gambia Academy

Sona Jobarteh with students at The Gambia Academy (school Sona founded in her home country)

New album Badinyaa Kumoo has 6M+ Spotify streams, nominated for Best Artist in the Africa & Middle East category of the Songlines Music Awards 2023

To see that someone is being respected to sing in their own language, dress in their own clothes, play their own music. That is a message not just for Gambians, it’s for the whole African continent.”

— Sona Jobarteh

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, April 18, 2023/ — Gambian/British multi-instrumentalist, social activist, and visionary Sona Jobarteh is set to embark on the second leg of her Spring 2023 US Tour, hitting 8 more cities along the east coast. Known globally as the world’s first female professional Kora virtuoso, Jobarteh has sold out shows in 10 of the 18 US cities she is visiting on her tour, which kicked off on March 20th and continues through April 30, 2023.

Jobarteh is currently promoting her second solo album, Badinyaa Kumoo, which has garnered over 6 million Spotify streams and counting. In addition, Jobarteh’s latest album has earned her a nomination for Best Artist in the Africa & Middle East category of the Songlines Music Awards 2023.

Badinyaa Kumoo, Jobarteh’s 12-track album, combines the traditional sound of her Gambian heritage with jazz, blues, and R&B/soul. The album features traditional African instruments, including djembes, calabash, and the kora, and includes guest appearances by renowned artists like Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, Malian kora master Ballaké Sissoko, and American saxophonist Kirk Whalum.

As a musician and social activist, Jobarteh has been featured in prominent media outlets such as 60 Minutes, CNN, BBC News, The New York Times, The Guardian, and NPR. She also recently received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music.

For Jobarteh, her international fame has represented more than just personal success. As she stated in a New York Times interview, “It makes Africans feel something, to see that someone is being respected to sing in their own language, dress in their own clothes, play their own music.” She added, “That is a message not just for Gambians — it’s for the whole African continent.”

From April 20th – 30th, US music fans can catch Sona Jobarteh in major cities along the east coast, including sold out shows in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC and Burlington. For more information and Jobarteh’s updated tour schedule, visit Badinyaa Kumoo is available on all music streaming platforms in the US, the UK, Europe, and Africa.

Sona Jobarteh Spring 2023 Tour

3/20 – Minneapolis, MN at The Dakota
3/21 – Madison, WI at Garver Feed Mill – SOLD OUT!
3/22 – Chicago, IL at Old Town School of Folk Music, Maurer Hall – SOLD OUT!
3/23 – Atlanta, GA at City Winery – SOLD OUT!
3/24 – Savannah, GA at Savannah Music Festival
3/26 – San Francisco, CA at Brava Theater – SOLD OUT!
3/28-29 – Seattle, WA at Jazz Alley (Third show added by public demand!) – SOLD OUT!
3/30 – Portland, OR at The Old Church Concert Hall – SOLD OUT!
3/31 – Mt. Vernon, WA at Skagit Valley College
4/2 – Knoxville, TN at Big Ears Festival
4/20 – Northampton, MA at BOMBYX Center for Arts & Equity
4/21 – Burlington, VT at UVM Lane Series – SOLD OUT!
4/22 – Boston, MA at Somerville Theater – SOLD OUT!
4/23 – New York, NY at NYC Pioneer Works
4/24 – Washington, DC at The Howard Theater – SOLD OUT!
4/25 – Philadelphia, PA at Philadelphia City Winery – SOLD OUT!
4/27 – Baton Rouge, LA at Manship Theater
4/29-30 – Lafayette, LA at Festival International de Louisiane

About Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh is the only daughter of a painter/writer mother from the UK and Kora master father from The Gambia. As a lifelong musician, Sona earned a scholarship to the prestigious Purcell School of Music and the Royal College of Music in the UK where she studied the cello, piano and harpsichord as well as composition and scoring. Coming from one of the five principal Griot families in West Africa, a hereditary tradition that dates back over 700 years to the Mali Empire, Jobarteh is the first female to master the kora, a 21-string instrument that combines the qualities of a lute and a harp. Originally introduced to the kora at age 4, Jobarteh officially began studying under her father at age 17, breaking an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that had been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries.

For the past seven years, Sona has given live performances and speaking engagements around the world. Pre-pandemic, she zoomed 52 performances with 12 sellouts during 2019 and post-pandemic, she had 72 shows in 2022. She has toured the US, including at the Hollywood Bowl in LA, as well as throughout Europe, China, India and Africa, and has performed at the WOMAD Festivals in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Sona has headlined sold out concerts in London at The Barbican, at the Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany, and at Seine Musicale in Paris. In addition, Sona was commissioned to compose the score for the multiple award-winning film, Motherland, in 2010 and was commissioned to write the opening and closing sequence music for the 2022 Hollywood blockbuster, Beast, starring Idris Elba. She also co-wrote a track on LL Cool J’s upcoming album, with QTip.

After founding The Gambia Academy in 2015, Sona has given speeches on educational reform. She has lectured and held residencies at universities and colleges in Africa and across the United States and Europe. Recently, Sona received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music, joining an elite list of other famous honorees, including Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Sting, and Herbie Hancock.

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