By Yunus S Saliu
One of the most excellent revolutionary musicians of all time in The Gambia is Pa Jali Bobo Jobarteh, he’s known to be an all-time songwriter, composer, instrumentalist, and singer whose love for promoting pure natural music is beyond the shore of the Destination Gambia.
Bobo Jobarteh is currently in the United States of America promoting the history and culture of The Gambia in different States of the country, he said The Gambia, Smiling Coast of Africa is a “peaceful and special nation full of cultures with authentic history and it is this our culture and heritages that I’m proudly promoting and selling to the western world.”
He is the founder of the Pa Bobo Jobarteh and The Touba Kaira Band and is known as a revolutionary musician in The Gambia, he released his latest album titled Marallalu four months ago in the UK and it is currently making waves on YouTube.
Being a revolutionary musician does not make him jeopardize his culture, saying “I remain one of the great historians who promote the authentic history and culture of the Gambian people, and I will forever cherish and adore it.”
Pa Bobo Jobarteh started going on a proper tour to the United States of America in 2022 with other Gambian griots which include himself, cousin brother Jaliba Karry Conteh, and his son, Amadou Bobo Jobarteh, and they have lovely, remarkable, and successful performances in many places, concerts, festivals, schools, universities and so on for three months promoting the culture and heritage of their country in 2022.
On his current tour in the States, the leader of the Touba Kaira Band said one of the projects he embarks on in the States is to lay an intercultural exchange foundation similar to Pa Bobo Arts and Cultural Center in The Gambia while working assiduously on the second part of his book titled Denki Lo La 2 meaning Singing A Song which the first part was released in 2022.
In the Denki Lo La 2 book, he said he is working with the Nottingham Arts Council, UK, and will start the promotion there next year. The book which will contain some historical songs will help the children on how to sing in different languages such as Mandika, Wollof, and Fula and it will remind kids how to be kind, and friendly and do some humanitarian work.
“As a ‘griot’ making people happy, here in the States, I play my favorite instrument, Kora made up of 21 strings with cattle skin and calabash. Kora is a compact acoustic instrument built with hands. So, wherever I go I promote and show people the instrument I play and they like it and well understand the culture I have,” he explained.
However, Pa Bobo Jobarteh, a native of Brikama in the West Coast Region of The Gambia not only plays Kora but also plays different instruments like percussion, solo/rhythm guitars, drum, and drumset, and he as well playing balafon, “but my favourite instrument is Kora I have traveled with it many times to different places in The Gambia, Senegal, Tripoli, USA and when I was 11 years old I traveled to UK with it.”
Pa Jali Bobo as famously called is a brother to the late legend Kora player, Tatadindin Jobarteh and Landing Jobarteh while his late father who was also a great musician, too, was also a former leader of the Gambia National Troupe.
The Kora maestro known as a revolutionary musician has lots of unforgettable albums in slip namely Peace Love And Unity, Praise Singing, World in Peace, Respect, Mansake, The Leaders of Today 1, 2, 3, 4 5, and the latest is the Marallalu which talks about how the government is governing the country and some current affairs of the country and it was released a few months ago in the UK.
Jali Bobo Jobarteh, however, urged Gambians to support musicians irrespective of their affiliation in the country rather than humiliating or throwing objects at them for one reason or another. “Throwing stones on our artists is not telling well about what we people of the country represent because it is the people that made the country branded as the Smiling Coast of Africa,” Pa Jali Bobo Jobarteh appealed.