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Jali Nyama Suso

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Biography

Suso has probably done more than any other musician to promote the kora/jali tradition outside of Africa. He was a competent kora player by age eight; at 16, a fall cost him a leg, rendering him unable to follow the normal jali existence of traveling around and performing at various ceremonies. He started recording for the radio in 1956 and was a national star by the mid-'60s, even being hired to arrange the national anthem. He worked with American musicologists, leading to a teaching job in the U.S., where he was featured on the Roots soundtrack. In the late '70s, he traveled around Sweden, performing for devoted fans. He contracted tuberculosis in 1986, which eventually led to his death in 1991. ~ Steve Huey
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