At once a musician, storyteller, historian and diplomat, the griot is a key part of West African culture. One can never become a griot. Like great kings of old, inheritance is the only path – a direct link to the ancestors.
Jally Keba Susso is born of a long line of Manding griots from The Gambia. He began playing that emblematic instrument of the griot, the Kora, at the tender age of seven. By his early teens he was well on the way to mastering it’s delicate, flowing intricacies, touring Europe with the top-drawer Gambian musicians Baatou Askan Wi, Maslabii and his sister Sambou Susso. A natural innovator, the last decade has seen Jally push the envelope of the ancient griot traditions, blending the melody of his birthright with the contemporary sound of Hip Hop. His skill and vision are a formidable combination. Since his relocation in the UK, crowds at the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, Momo’s and Cargo are amongst the many who have been blessed by Jally’s healing sounds. In his own words, his mission is “to expand the boundaries of the griot tradition whilst keeping it’s heart and soul intact.”