Dawda Jobarteh Transitional Times
Stern's Music (www.sternsmusic.com)
"Our Time in Tanjeh"
Dawda Jobarteh was born in Gambia, part of a family of hereditary musicians, well respected griots like Amadou Bansang Jobarteh, Dembo Konté, Malamini Jobarteh, and his grandfather, the legendary Alhaji Bai Konté. Griots learn their craft and repertoire as children, studying with their elders, but Dawda was an adult and far from home and family, living in Copenhagen when he first picked up the instrument, teaching himself the music of his youth, and composing new sounds in modern modes.
Transitional Times is a interesting album, a blend of tradition remembered and an immigrant's vision of new worlds. The music swerves from pure solo strings to jarring, modern motifs. He plays with pop and jazz idioms, but it always feels very rooted in the old world. I chose "Our Time in Tanjeh" as our featured song because it gently dances between tradition and today. It's about a fishing village in Gambia, but it is dreamlike, evoking his home in Denmark as much as his memories of childhood.
There are a lot of other approaches taken on the album, and I've included a few samples and a video that show you the breadth of sounds he and his small ensemble create. - Cliff Furnald