King of Kora

Jaliba Kuyateh
MBG Director, Nick Maurice has had the extraordinary privilege bestowed on him of crowning Jaliba Kuyateh "King of Kora" in a ceremony to take place in Bristol at 1.00 am on Sunday 8 June! Jaliba started playing the 21 stringed traditional West African instrument at the age of five and is recognised worldwide as the leading kora player. Nick writes:

"This came to me 'out of the blue' and I almost fainted on the spot when I read the letter of invitation from my friends and colleagues in the Kombo Sillah Association. I have heard Jaliba when he has performed in Gunjur, fundraising for some of the initiatives in which we have been involved and I have always been hugely impressed by his technique, his musicianship and his extraordinary ability to connect with his audience.

It would be wrong to suggest the music of the kora is instantly appreciated by my Western ear, just as I am sure it is difficult for Africans (not to say some Europeans!) to adjust to the orchestral and choral music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, but of one thing I am sure; music is a universal language and can do so much to bring people of different cultures and faiths together. And so has Jaliba proved. Like all brilliant musicians he started playing the kora at a very young age - five. He has made many recordings and he has played to large audiences around the world including America, Europe and of course Africa. He has been chosen to be UNICEF Ambassador in recognition of his ability through his playing to bring peace and harmony. It is significant that one of his songs is entitled "Kaira Silo Mang jara fa" (the road to peace is never too long). It is entirely appropriate that he should be crowned King of Kora."

If anyone is interested in attending the Coronation, please please let us know This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It will be a unique experience which will never be repeated!