booking arrangements, please contact Alhaji Papa Susso directly .
the United States and Canada:
Papa Susso (Suntu), master kora player,
traditional musician, oral historian, virtuoso and director of the Koriya
Musa Center for Research in Oral Tradition, was born on the 29th of
September, 1947, in the village of Sotuma Sere in the Upper River Division
of The Republic of Gambia, West Africa.
Susso hails from a long line of Griots (traditional oral historians).
His father taught him to play the kora when he was five years old.
invented by the "Susso" family of the Mandinka tribe of the
great Manding Empire.
It is a 21-stringed harp-lute unique to the western- most part of
Africa and is meant to be played only by the Jali (professional musicians,
praise singers and oral historians), who were traditionally attached to
the royal courts.
Their duties included recounting tribal history and genealogy,
composing commemorative songs and performing at important tribal events.
as he is commonly known, attended Bakadaji Primary School from 1963-1960.
He passed the common entrance high school examination, which
allowed him to enroll as a student at the Armitage High School,
Georgetown, The Gambia, from 1960-1965, where he graduated with honours.
finishing high school, Papa Susso was appointed Agricultural Assistant in
the Ministry of Agricultural and Natural Resources.
He held that position until he received a scholarship to attend
Outington University in Suakoko, Liberia, where he received his bachelor
of arts degree in business administration in 1969.
his return to The Gambia, Papa Susso joined the civil service of The
Gambia government as a Senior Accountant in the Ministry of Work and
Papa has also served as Financial Attaché and Liaison Officer for
The Gambia Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with concurrent
accreditation to the Republic of Liberia, Guinea and The Ivory Coast.
Papa Susso later resigned to go back to his traditional role as a kora
player so that he could keep his African culture alive.
He became the chief kora player of The Gambia National Cultural Troupe under the
Ministry of Education and Culture.
1974, he resigned and formed his own cultural organization: The Manding
Music and Dance Limited.
The objectives of this organization include: a) conducting research
and carrying out studies into the history, traditions and ethnomusicology
of Manding; b) carrying on the business and assisting the performing
artists in the presentation of music and folklore of Manding; and, c)
reviving, exposing and promoting a better understanding and appreciation
of the music culture of the Manding.
Susso is a Muslim by religion.
He has traveled quite extensively to East, West and Central Africa,
the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States of America,,
spreading his special message of peace and love.
has performed for several heads of state and government and the United
Papa Susso has also performed with several symphony orchestras.
He is a premier performer in the "American Classic African
Portraits" by Hannibal Peterson.
He performed at New York City's Carnegie Hall twice, for the
Baltimore, Detroit, Kalamazoo, San Antonio, St. Louis and Chicago
Symphonies, the Louisiana Philharmonic of New Orleans, and Kazumi Watanabe
Opera, Tokyo, Japan.
Papa Susso has also been appointed as Regents' Lecturer in ethnomusicology in 1991 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Regents' Lecture and Professorship Program is designed to bring to campus distinguished leaders in the arts, sciences,, business and politics, whose careers have been largely outside the academic area. As Regents' Lecturer in ethnomusicology, Papa Bunka Susso has been participating in discussions with students and faculty and joining in informal talks with interested parties.