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. The Kora is a 21 stringed African harp, and is 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.