Jali Bakary is the grandson and son, respectively, of the legendary Gambian kora players Alhaji Bai Konte (who helped to bring kora music to the wider world with his iconic album Kora Melodies From the Republic of the Gambia, West Africa in 1973) and Dembo Konte. As Banning Eyre has put it, “it is difficult to overstate the regal, nearly divine, stature” of the Konte family in the echelons of West African music.
Born into this remarkable musical lineage and steeped in Gambia’s griot tradition, Jali Bakary is the latest torchbearer for his family’s kora legacy on the world stage. He has performed extensively throughout West and North Africa, as well as in the UK and the rest of Europe (WOMAD, Roskilde Festival, the Barbican).
Although the kora tradition has changed a lot over the last half a century, it has never stayed still. Like his father and grandfather before him, Jali Bakary brings his own personal touch and innovations to traditional songs with unique melodic and rhythmic arrangements.
A hugely versatile musician, he regularly performs solo, as well as with his own band, Minyanta, and Balimaya Project – a new 13 piece collective who fuse West-African folkloric music and jazz. Jali Bakary released his debut album, Konteh Kunda, in 2010 and currently lives in London. He will soon be releasing his second solo album.
“An exceptional purveyor of the Gambian tradition” – Afropop Worldwide
As Banning Eyre has put it, “it is difficult to overstate the regal, nearly divine, stature” of the Konte family in the echelons of West African music.