Jaliba Kuyateh & The Kumareh Band


Jaliba Kuyateh (born on 13 April 1957) is an artist from Niamina Dankunku, Gambia. His name means great praise singer or griot in his native Mandinka language. He is internationally known as the “King of Kora” for his deft and entrancing ability to manipulate all 21 strings of the kora. He comes from a family of musicians. He is son to renowned kora player Kebba Sankung Kuyateh. His grandfather Wandifeng Jali was also a famous Kora player of his time. He began playing music instruments when he was five years. Back then, his father would give him a tune to play on the Kora before he could allow him to go out and play with friends. This saw him playing kora at small parties. He later became a member of Ifangbondi Band. His career as a musician spans to almost 30 years. He has a band known as The Kumareh Band. Some call him “Kumareh Bird” (a singing bird found on the banks of the River Gambia) owing to his silky voice.

His understanding of kora is enhanced by the heights and depths of his voice. He can sing in three languages (English, Wollof and Mandinka) and seven octaves.

While at college, he and other students formed a band known as Jaliba & Group. In 1991, he graduated and began working with the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. Shortly afterwards, he retired so as to focus on music.

The band gained fame but disbanded later. Along with two members from his original group, he formed The Kumareh Band. The band has made international tours for more than 18 years. It has released a dozen albums. They have received a huge audience from concerts made in Gambia, the US and Europe.

He is one of the singers who has made kora music accessible to international public using both traditional and modern instruments. He joins traditional West African music with his modern performances and mixing traditional kora sounds with modern pop music styles thus creating a new music of cultural diversity “kora pop”.

He has received numerous awards and recognition for his music and philanthropic activities. In 2009, he was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador for his charitable work.


Track artwork
4 da Gambia feat Jaliba Kuyateh and Sambou Suso
Track artwork
Sulayman Ceesay 3
Jaliba kuyateh a Gambia mussolo


In operation since: 


Jaliba Kuyateh
Profile added by Angelika Prox-Dampha on 29 Jul 2015
Join the Music In Africa Premium Exposure Plan today.