Sunday, 13 February 2011

Responding to Cherno Baba Jollow -Kora Adrenalin Link to Cherno's article

By Suntou Bolonba
Re: Jaliba, An Ambassador of Manden Culture and Music
I agree entirely with Cherno Baba that, Jaliba’s music can be enjoyed by a diverse audience of Gambians or Kora lovers. Inherently my postulations on the study of Jaliba’s musical export is premise on the assumption that, he utilises language and the power of typical deep rooted Mandingo words to entice and excite his audiences. I am attempting similar study on Juldeh Kamara's music.... He on the other hand regularly uses, ‘eloquently Fulbe even to non-Fulas’..
The position of Cherno Baba is true in a broader analysis of Jaliba’s many non-Mandingo fans. His songs in Wollof also utilises the dictum of the Wollofbaa speak to reinvigorate their praises. In a narrow and focus study, songs like ‘nyin manteren, nin Sukuta ngo yee buu nya, akana iiteren’ (“I am not surprise”, when an indigenous of Sukuta honours you, never be surprise) that song is a classic use of conventional generic Mandingka to aim at the heart of Sukutarians. The strings act like a drug to the dreamy fans eager to become a central focus. Here the young lady Mbalin Cham gave Jaliba a four hundred thousand Dalasis worth of motor car. Is Mbaling richer than Jaliba? No, contrast the relationship between Jaliya and Batufayaa.. The cultural backdrop in called upon to germinate the (me me) of the praise seeker. In Mandinka (alin fele) look at me, watch me, adore me...which use to be reserve for Kandalu and leaders, but now for every capable and willing patron.

The words kill them slowly and softly, if not why dish out a $1,000 without thinking? This is not to say, I am beyond the mega folding and dog tapping of Jaliba’s 21 strings Kora like a loo sito (a bundled of fire wood).
In Amadou Barry (Fula Foro) we notice again, the crabbing of Mr Barry on his jugular veins. To be a freeborn is everything in a tribal Fula society or community, hence ‘Fula Foro’ in Mandingka. In Kisima Dambele, ‘Sarahulo yee ban-na yalelon’ (The Sarahulehs are known for their wealthy and affluences) again, the key word here is Banna yaa (wealthy) something the Sarahuleh is stereo typically identified with, but in both cases he utilises the Mandingka terms for them.
In Yahya Jammeh, Jaliba sings as (Yahya Yee Banko taa, keleman kee, moo manfa) Again, Banko (country) symbolises going back to the Mandingka understanding.
I can go and on about the negotiation of the Mandingka culture in Jaliba’s music. Jaliba’s maturing into adding and singing in Wollof and a bit of Fula reveal his intent to break all barriers our society may erect through ethnic differences. And to his credit, the fan base is multi dimensional and diverse.
If you analyse briefly the behaviour and excitement loyal fans and patrons display at his shows, one will consistently see (adrenalin fuel) intoxication. In Jaliba’s trip to U.S in 2010, it is said that, he collected in excess of $30,000 from patrons. And in concerts, women give him, gold, clothes, Jewry, musical instruments etc. The key trigger of such lavish donations is the way the songs get to them.
For instance, whenever McCarthy is mention and Morro Baldeh’s name come to the fray, his relations in America go mad. And by extension McCarthy indigence's raise the roof. However, the sweet flavour is the attraction in the words spoken. Since words here illustrate to us (outsiders) the lineage or roots of the patron. In all the videos of Jaliba I watched, he connects perfectly with the words to the person he is sings about.
Unconfirmed reports during my study highlighted that, Jaliba is actually very spiritual and knowledgeable in the art of Marabourism. He seclude himself before every show to concentrate and incant his spiritual side. Jaliba admitted playing the Kora to soften the hearts of his patron, hence we can deduce that, if the patron is known to him ahead, Jaliba can skilfully, using the Kora and backing band quickly move the patron, but the speculation that, spiritual attraction is involve will always linger. The similitude here to the Rock Band fiver and their peculiarities..

Jaliba is a very hard working musician. He practise very frequently and always tries to perfect himself. His core ingredient is always connecting with his culture and making it relevant to his every day existences. Whilst young wannabes quickly adopt Western mannerism and attitude without solidifying their music first. Cultural expression is undoubtedly the hallmark of the Kumareh Band (A bird that is traditionally belief to give premonitions and sings in melodious voice) again cultural underpinning.
Overall, my study did not exclude or took ownership of Jaliba as per pursuing a Mandingocentric musical export. In fact, my aim was/is to locate where and how he negotiate one tradition to his different listeners. Yusu Ndurr do this perfectly, the many proverbs we all came to be familiar with in his music, yet he speak immaculate Wollof, so is Baba Maal. One has to deeply comprehend Fula to understand Maal.
Thank You. (Sorry that, it took over a year to respond.)


Babou said...

Jaliba is without doubt one of Gambia's finest Kora Players and cultural icons.An ambassador for Gambia.

Anonymous said...

I agree Babou. I hope some younger Kora players are coming up. Jaliba is nearly sixty years now.