Goooooooooooooooood Wednesday and happy August 2017 to all my loyal listeners!
It’s your favorite ethnomusicologist, DJ Lady Luck, bringing you tunes from around the globe with the purpose of inspiring your mid-week workday and the month ahead!
And speaking of inspiration…
August is such an exciting month to me, especially when I think about all the time that educators, students and parents alike spend prepping for what will be the start of a new academic year. Because of them and my own fond memories as a kid of looking forward to the new school year, I always see this month now as a great time to pause for a little rethinking of plans, adjusting of action items, and shifting of gears to tackle (new and continuing) goals in the second half of the calendar year!
Plus, this month just puts me in the mood for office/school supply shopping, fall fashion trend-spotting, and… [wait for it…] college football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, to get things going in a proper way, you know I’ve got just the tune for your ears today.
“Gambia” is by the extraordinary Kora virtuoso Sona Jobarteh. According to the Malta World Music Festival’s artist bio page on her…
The Kora is a 21-stringed African harp and one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa. It can be found in Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The Kora, along with a handful of other instruments, belongs exclusively to the griot families of west Africa. Only those who are born into one of these families have the exclusive right to take up these instruments professionally. Sona, who was born into one of the five principal West African Griot families, has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female.
Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a modern day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries. She has modernized the presentation of Kora music [by] bringing a rhythmic edge to her compositions which is very up to date and fits her remarkable singing.
Sona has an effortless ability to blend different musical styles, not just between the West and Africa, but also between West African musical genres. She uses her innovative stance to talk about issues to do with cultural identity, gender, love and respect while still referencing and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage. Sona represents her tradition in a way that is easily accessible to her audiences from around the world, who are drawn in by her captivating voice, strong rhythms and catchy melodies.
And that’s why I picked this song to kick off the month of August!
The video, set in the beautiful land of The Gambia, embodies to me the look, sound, and feel of August… of summer blending into fall and of the excitement a new year of learning brings – with its scenes of kids playing, artists working their craft, musicians and dancers practicing and refining their talents, and people everywhere in the act of living and celebrating life. Just watching it again inspires me to add this country to my travel list, so that I may experience their pulse of life as seen in the market places, beaches, and village streets featured… ahhhhh, to travel!
Well, with that said, may you have a productive month of gearing up for new challenges, of starting new learning efforts, and of celebrating the joys, struggles, and milestones of life.
DJ Lady Luck