Kora Master, Foday Musa Suso, Performs Live! – Podcast 115

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I feel like this recording is as good anything I’ve produced for radio.

This podcast is a live performance from Kora legend Foday Musa Suso.   Suso is most known in the West from his collaborations with Phillip Glass, Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, Pharaoh Sanders, Jack DeJohnette and countless others.

 Foday Musa Suso is an internationally recognized musician and a Mandingo griot from the West African nation of Gambia. Griots are the oral historians and musicians of the Mandingo people, who live in several West African nations. Griots are a living library for the community, providing history, entertainment, and wisdom while playing and singing their songs. The history of empires and kingdoms, tribal conflicts, cultural heroes, and family lineage are all part of a griot’s traditional repertoire. It is an extensive verbal and musical heritage that can only be passed down within a griot family.

Foday is a direct descendent of Jali Madi Wlen Suso, the griot who invented the kora over four centuries ago. Foday spent his childhood in a traditional Gambian village, in a household filled with kora music. He began to play his father’s kora even before he could hold the instrument on his own. Though his father was a master kora player, in griot tradition a father does not teach his own children the instrument. So from age 9-18, Foday studied music and history under master kora player Sekou Suso in the village of Pasamasi, Wuli District.–

After many years of rigorous study, in 1974 Foday spent 3 years teaching the kora at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Legon, Ghana. In 1977, he moved to Chicago and became the first kora player to establish himself in the United States. He formed The Mandingo Griot Society with 3 American musicians, playing a fusion of traditional and jazz that is now known as “world music”. Since 1977, he has performed as a soloist and with other musicians throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. Interested in both traditional and cutting-edge music, he has also written many original compositions, toured and recorded with many prominent musicians. In addition to his virtuosic kora playing and singing, Foday Musa Suso is very skilled in playing traditional West African drums, as well as many other instruments.

Kane Mathis (Kora) and Brandon Terzic (Oud and Ngoni) Live! – Podcast 111

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Kane Mathis and Brandon Terzic performed live sets of incredible beauty of the NYC radio airwaves.  First Kane Mathis played solo  (on the 21-string Mandinka Harp) and then he was joined by Brandon on the Oud and later the Ngoni.

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Kane began taking trips to The Gambia, West Africa in 1997 and has continued rigorous study of the Mandinka Kora. Over the past ten years his performances have earned him recognition by the Gambian president, The Gambian minister of culture, and both national television and radio of The Gambia.

Kane’s primary kora teachers are Malamini Jobarteh of Brikama, The Gambia and Moriba Kouyate of The Gambia. The Jobarteh family remain one of The Gambia’s most important musical legacies. Tata Din din Jobarteh, Pa Bobo Jobarteh, and Siffai Jobarteh are the families current most visible exponents touring the world.

Brandon Terzic has performed in the states and Internationally, traveled to Morocco, Senegal and Egypt studying music, and playing with many incredible Musicians, amongst them Tomchess, Matt Kilmer, Matt Darriau, Rufus Cappodocia, Shane Shanahan, Luke Notary, Hassan Houkmoun, Peter Slavov, John Shannon, Gilad Dobrecky, Mal Stein, George Stathos, Sylvain Leroix, Tom Rossi, Max ZT and many many more. He currently teaches and performs in his band Xalam Project amongst other projects.

Both Kane and Brandon also perform on the Oud.