Japan – Argentine – Gambia

The world of traditional South American, Japanese and West African plucked instruments:

With the passionate Koto player Tomoko Kihara,
the Kora player and vocalist from Gambia Jalli Yusupha Kuyateh
and the argentinian Charango virtuoso Diego Jascalevich!


The result is a very special synthesis when the filigree Japanese koto virtuoso Tomoko Kihara, Jalli Yusupha Kuyateh, Kora player and singer from Gambia and the internationally renowned charango player Diego Jascalevich are on stage together. Three masters of enchanting, exotic stringed instruments: one from the fabled Andes, which connects Venezuela with Tierra del Fuego, the other from the land of the rising sun and a representative of “Mother Africa”. Three musical worlds that seemingly could not be further apart meet here. And yet, the small South American plucked instrument, originally made from the dried armor of an armadillo, blends the stringed Japanese cambered zither into a whimsical, rousing body of music that blends the three continents with the original Kora from Africa.

Tomoko Kihara, from Japan, studied the traditional Japanese musical instruments Koto and Shamisen at the conservatoire “Elisabetsu” in Hiroshima. Kihara performed at concerts in Hiroshima, Tokyo and Pusan, South Korea and received numerous awards for her achievements. Since 2010 she is a PhD student at the conservatoire in Hiroshima and teaches Koto at the middle and high school.        

Jalli Yusupha Kuyateh
Kora player and singer from Gambia West Africa comes from the famous and highly respected family Kuyateh. Already as a child he learned from his father the game on the Kora followed the family tradition and also became a griot. The Jalli or Griots, as they are called in Gambia, tell the stories of their people.

They are a library and a mediator, accompany people‘s life on the Kora during their whole life. They are invited to special occasions such as weddings, baptisms and circumcisions. They sing from the glorious past to the present and also do not hesitate to give statements on social and proper behavior. Their main instrument is the Kora, the instrument of kings, a kind of harp out of a calabash half covered with cowhide and a wooden stick attached to the 21 pages.

Yusupha lives and works since 1997 in Munich. With his solo concerts as Kora player and singer as well as in concerts with his group, he imparts incomparably masterful the richness of West African music and its stories.

 Diego Jascalevich, Argentine charango virtuoso, grew up in Buenos Aires, lived in Brazil and Italy for many years, until 1996 when he received a classical composition degree in Germany. Remarkably and playfully, Jascalevich combines classical music and folklore on his South American plucked instrument. As a guest musician he played with the Italian star tenor Andrea Bocelli, the flamenco guitarist José Luis Montón, and Peter Gabriel at the World Music Festival in London.


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