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'Reviving Ancient Traditions'


Living Legacies Archive, Banjul

The Griot Tradition of West Africa is one of the most important oral traditions to be found on the African continent and part of an inheritance that goes back over 700 years. But, with rapid globalization and the onslaught of popular culture and its inherent value system, the Griot Tradition, along with many other equally valuable folk traditions of the region, have become lost to the younger generation. It is a rich heritage that is being disregarded and is in danger of becoming lost for future generations. The Living Legacies Archive brings the past and the present together to help pass knowledge from one generation to another. Retracing the steps of the old masters, the idea is to find those treasured fragments of culture and history and give it back to its own young people.


An evening to celebrate the official launch of the Living Legacies Archive. Living Legacies was founded by the UK based composer and international kora player, Tunde Jegede. He began to study the instrument at the age of eight with master of the kora, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh. The Living Legacies Archive holds artifacts, rare photographs, audio and visual recordings collected by him over the last 40 years. This year, Tunde returns to The Gambia with the world-renowned photographer and filmmaker, Sunara Begum, to document a new generation of griots and artists.


The Living Legacies exhibition explores the themes of memory, culture and tradition. It follows the celebrated kora- maker, Lamin Suso and documents the cyclic process of making and creating the instrument. It also includes intimate black and white portraits of the new generation of featured artists in the archive. Living Legacies will screen live performances of artists including; Sambou Suso, Pa Bobo Jobarteh, Sura Susso, Wali Cham, Binta Suso, Hammay Saho, Yusupha Suso, Sulay Sowe and Demba Danjo. There will also be a screening of Sunara Begum’s film, Truth & Art on the work of Tunde Jegede.


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