The Republic of The Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland and is bordered on three sides by Sngal. On 18 February 1965 The Gambia became independent from the British Empire and it became a republic in 1970. Banjul is its capital and Serrekunda the largest city. A wide variety of ethnic groups live in The Gambia with a minimum of inter tribal friction, each preserving its own language and traditions. The Mandinka tribe is the largest, followed by the Fula, Wolof, Jola, and Serahule. The approximately 3,500 non-African residents include Europeans and families of Lebanese origin (roughly 0.23% of the total population). Muslims constitute more than 90% of the population. Christians of different denominations account for most of the remainder. Gambians officially observe the holidays of both religions and practice religious tolerance. The current President has invested many hours of his precious time in energising and incentivising the youth of The Gambia to throw themselves wholeheartedly into both cultural renaissance and agricultural development. The results are beginning to show a whole host of musicians and artists developing their music both at home and in the Diaspora!
English is the spoken common language as French is in Senegal. The Jobartehs of The Gambia are the Diabates of Senegal; same family! The music is now firmly in renaissance. Youssou N'Dour studied here as a youth before returning to Senegal to fuse the Kora and African drums with Electric Guitar and Bass to create Mbalax. Jaliba Kuyateh has long been producing his music in The Gambia and is now being recognised as one of the leading musicians here and all over West Africa. Tata Dinding is another who has taken his Kora music around the world following in the footsteps of his father Malamin Baba Jobarteh. Afro Manding is a fusion that retains its roots in the Mandinka culture. Obviously we will soon be including the next generation coming through, who are beginning to embrace the Hip Hop, Highlife, Reggae and HipCo that have developed around the Guinea Coast. We shall grow this particular page as the region expands due to the creative explosion that is currently taking place.
Malamin Baba Jobarteh
Saikou Susso-Ebrimah Jobarteh-Kambeng Project
Johnny Toubab-Tata Dinding-Salam Band