The Gambia, has a rich and vibrant musical culture that reflects the diversity and traditions of its people. Music plays an integral role in the daily lives of Gambians, weaving together stories, history, and celebrations.
One of the most prominent genres of music in The Gambia is called “mbalax.” This rhythmic and energetic form of music combines traditional African drumming with modern influences, creating a sound that is both traditional and contemporary. Mbalax is often accompanied by dancing, with its infectious beats inspiring people to move their bodies in sync with the music.
Another popular genre of music in The Gambia is known as “kora” music. The kora is a unique 21 stringed instrument that resembles a harp, and it is played by skilled musicians known as griots who pluck its strings with their thumbs and index fingers. Kora music is soothing and melodic, often telling stories or conveying emotions through its enchanting melodies. It is commonly performed during social gatherings and cultural events, creating a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.
Traditional drumming is an integral part of Gambian musical culture. The intricate rhythms created by the drums are not only musical but also serve as a means of communication. Different beats and patterns convey different messages, allowing for a form of non-verbal communication that is deeply ingrained in Gambian society. Drumming circles, known as “jambarr,” bring people together to play and listen to the rhythms, fostering a sense of community and unity.
Overall, the musical culture in The Gambia is a vibrant tapestry that weaves together traditional rhythms, mesmerizing melodies, and contemporary influences.
At Footsteps we like to showcase Djembe, Kora and Guitar each week either at buffet evenings or barbecues.
Jeli & Mariama perform each week
Jeli Yankuba and Mariama have been playing their Gambian music at Footsteps for the past four years.
He is an enormously talented singer/songwriter/musician and Mariama’s voice is just incredible without a microphone and singing outside.
Jeli and Mariama have both confirmed they will be playing at Footsteps for our 2023/24 season.
So please join us even if you’re not staying at the lodge.
Just call Dodou on +220 773 2060 if you are in the country & enjoy the party. 😀
Jeli has a Kora School helping others to learn how to play.
His school is a non-profit making institution and has no political or religious ties believing that those showing true talent and commitment should get the chance of learning to sing and play music whatever their financial circumstances.
The main school is located in Gambia’s second city of Brikama and there is another school based in the more rural area of Gunjur in South Gambia. Their focus is on the students helping them to attain high-quality musical training and also to enjoy the challenges and hurdles which come during music-making.
They provide lessons at both locations and also run a number of traditional music workshops in local schools to raise students’ love and understanding of music by providing a musical environment that is engaging and enjoyable.