Jaliba Kuyateh
& the Kumareh Band

Jaliba Kuyateh is a recognized Gambian artist in the area of performing arts who contributed greatly to the promotion of Gambian culture and the development of African and Gambian music in particular. He composed many songs conveying messages to the people on social issues and rendered services free of charge to build schools, religious centers and health centers.

As a child during the ages of five to seven years, Jaliba was trained on the Kora - a twenty-one stringed musical instrument, mainly found in countries along the west coast of Africa. This happened through his father who was also a player of the Kora.

At this time, if he did anything wrong, his father was using the kora as a form of punishment by giving him a tune to play on the Kora before he was allowed to go out and play with friends. Through this, he was able to acquire the basic skills on the instrument since the time he was very young.

Because of his school career, he almost left the Kora completely, apart from during leisure time. Only when he entered the Gambia Teachers Training College, he became interested in the instrument again. During the college course, he was with the Kora constantly, and rapidly became known by all Gambians as well as in other West African countries because of his performances and interviews in the national radio.

Interested students came and formed a group with him. The group became famous and started touring the country, especially during school holidays. This development went ahead to date.

Jaliba and the group has since then in a very characteristical way been able to blend traditional and modern musical instruments in their repertoire, thus making it possible for them to produce music that is appealing to both the young and older generation of Gambians as well as visitors to The Gambia.

Now, they have a Kora, a Balafon, a drum set, percussions, a trumpet, bass guitar, tama and talking drums, and a set of four local drums.

Jaliba Kuyateh's group has existed in more than 18 years and have indeed proven themselves to be "Cultural Ambassadors of The Gambia". The group has represented The Gambia at international festivals in Senegal, Ghana and Spain. They have also toured the USA, as well as European countries such as England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. From July to September 1996 The Gambia Socio-Cultural Association arranged a major European tour for Jaliba and his Kumareh band after playing during the Gambian Cultural Week in Copenhagen.

May 1999

Jaliba has just released his eight Album. The new album of Jaliba and the Kumareh Band was released on Monday May 10th. Fankanta contains song titles: FAO (Telefood), Fankanta (family Planning), Lottery, zone II, Pop FLE, Kanu Badingya, and Saabo and Family.
Three songs in the album, Family, Saabo and Kanu Badingya are new while the others are previously released singles. The album was recorded at Elie Nachif's Yellowgate Studios, Fajara and sponsored by Fankanta, the new family planning logo.

According to distributor Salif Jaiteh, the album is now available in all record shops in the country.

February 24, 2001 - Oko Back With Jaliba's Cassette

The Point

Oko Drammeh, Gambian-born music promoter in Hollywood, USA, is back in the Gambia, this time to officially launch the long-awaited new cassette of Kora guru Jaliba Kuyateh.

The backing musicians of this Jaliba's latest 'musical bomb' are internationally-renowned musicians of class, most of whom have played for would renowned celebrites like Michael Jackson etc. Kerewan Sounds will distribute the new Jaliba Kuyateh cassettes, after the official launching which will be held next weekend at one of the best hotels in the Gambia.
So keep close to these columns for details of the cassette, and promoter Oko, who is the brain promoting Gambian musicians worldwide.

Jaliba Kuyateh's "Kora Dance" Launched

March 9, 2001
The Independent

By Ifeh Udeh

It wasn't the very famous line up of artists with rap, dancehall ndaga, soukous singing and dancing style of launching neither was it the ticketing and cassette/CD selling type. From the venue (Palma Rima Hotel), one will quickly imagine what will be offered by the tranquil tourists lodging home.

The stage and the guests seats/tables were set like it was a presidential reception dinner. Buffet of various western dishes was the item on top of the scheduled list. At about 8.20pm distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the media began taking seats. The V.I.P guests took no chance in leaving any of their seats empty. They came in chains and filled their reserved seats.

As it was tagged a press dinner-launching, the total number of guests was about 50 - an exclusive number in an exclusive album launch party.

As the eating and drinking went on at about 9.00pm, Oko Drammeh, the chief executive officer of Soto Koto Music, after a brilliant introduction by Liberian-born lead performers, took the stage as the MC of the Sunday March 4 record-setting event. In the midst of soft humours, Oko ushered is an appetising performance from the wonderful 'A' Team. With a dance that ended with the formation of a banner that bore "Welcome to Palma Rima Hotel" the dancers took a bridge of about five minutes. They returned with a uniform dance and performance of Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" and caught the guests with a loud and continuous applause. Oko Drammeh took that ovation pause to present a D10, 000 cash award to the custodians of the Bakau Katchikally Crocodile pond.

From the same 'A' Team performers, a lady was on stage wriggling her waist, throwing head back and forth in a magical dance to the track "kele", the fourth song on the "Kora Dance" CD. Palma Rima's 'A' team performers waved uniform magical dance they called "fire dance". Oko Drammeh went on stage once more for another D10,000 cash award, but this time to the Kunta Kinteh family. Jalibah Kuyateh finally came on stage and performed (playback) three Songs; Pissali, "Aling Bundi" and "Kunta Kinteh".

The first number of cassettes duplicated by the Gambian distributors Kerewan Sounds were given free to guests.

The party ended at 11.00pm and it was all beautiful remarks from marvellously impressed guests like GRTS Tombong Saidy and Ebou Waggeh, The Independent's Alhajie Yorro Jallow, Ex-Observer's boss Sheriff Bojang, Pascal Eze, Radio 1Fm's George Christensen, Salifu Jaiteh, Miss Gambia, folk singer Musa Ngum, Champion DJ Lamin Cham, Ndanaan - Bis Matbou Secka and more. "Kora Dance" album is a unique blend of Jaliba Kuyateh's cultural singing, his Kora and the foreign horns, drums and percussion.

Soto Koto Band featured Jaliba on the project.

The album is in cassette volumes one and two, and in CD.


February 2002
Mr Oko Drammeh with King of Kora Jaliba Kuyateh Touring U.S from February 9th 2002. Saturday 9th February 2002 at One World Theatre Austin, Texas.

For more information on Jaliba and Oko Drammeh Tour in U.S go to: www.africanmusicfestival.com,, or www.okodrammeh.com

  Jaliba Kuyateh is news and report 'man of the year 2009'
Monday, 04 January 2010
Jaliba Kuyateh of Brikama, the well-known kora player and leader of the Kumareh Band of Brikama has been designated "Man of the Year 2009" by the Gambia News and Report weekly magazine, the first musician to receive the award..........Read more

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Last updated on January 5th, 2010

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