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World Music – Sona Jobarteh, kora player and vocalist

July 30 @ 7:30 pm

$5 – $25 This concert is open seating by section. Premium Section is the first 10 rows. Standard Section is rows 11-19.

Sona Jobarteh, kora; Eric Appapoulay, guitar; Andi McLean, bass; Wes Joseph and Mamadou Sarr, percussion 

The men in her family have been musicians for over 700 years but she “didn’t want to be told ‘you are good for a woman.'” So she ripped up the rules.  She is the first professional female kora virtuoso to come from any of the West African Griot dynasties.  Backed up by her band, what she can do with this west African instrument is pure magic.

Sona Jobarteh is the first professional female kora virtuoso to come from any of the West African Griot dynasties. Her lineage includes kora masters Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, her grandfather, and the legendary Toumani Diabaté. 

The kora is a 21 stringed instrument. The sound resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style it bears resemblance to a guitar. Kora players have traditionally come from families who are historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants.

Sona’s virtuosity, distinctive voice, and on stage grace have combined to make her one of the world’s most sought-after world music artists. Since 2019 she has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, WOMAD, Symphony Space in New York City, and across Europe, Asia, and Africa. 

Sona founded the Gambia Academy in 2015. It is a pioneering institution dedicated to educational reform across the continent Africa. According to Sona, Africa faces the crucial and urgent challenge of addressing its education systems. Children who are fortunate enough to be able to attend school spend most of their waking hours in school. However in most cases the environment, culture, approach and curricula content within these schools are oriented around a post-colonial value system and foreign perspective. 

For Sona, it is detrimental for future generations of the continent whose values and concepts are shaped during their school years, to continue to be trained within a system where African culture, African history, African traditions and their intrinsic values are not emphasized. The Gambia Academy is therefore the first of its kind in the Gambia to deliver a mainstream academic curriculum at a high level, whilst also bringing the culture, traditions and history of Africa to the front and center of everyday education. 

This concert is generously sponsored by Mary Bucher, and Gil Feinberg and Nadeen Van Tuyle. 

Sona Jobarteh’s appearance is generously underwritten by David and Susan Wood.

About the Artist

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Sona Jobarteh

200 Pennsylvania Avenue
Mount Gretna, PA 17064 United States
+ Google Map
(717) 361-1508

Helpful Tips

Bring a pillow

Consider bringing a pillow if you like a little cushion.

First Listen!

First Listen are free pre-concert mini-performances by our area’s most talented youth musicians.  We partner with the Women’s Symphony Association of Lancaster to present finalists from their Young Artists Competition on our First Listen series. They occur before most of our Sunday concerts.  Please check each concert page for more details.

Parking is Free

Parking guards will be around to assist you.  Handicapped parking in front and behind the playhouse is limited.


Restrooms can be found in the lower level of the Playhouse, entered from outside.  There is also a single handicapped-friendly restroom stage right (if you are looking at the stage, it is to the left).

Rain or Shine

Performances are rain or shine.  If extreme weather causes a change in the status of a performance, an announcement will be posted on our home page and sent via email to all ticket buyers with details on rescheduling or cancellation, and ticket exchange or refund policy.

What to Wear

Come as you please with attire suitable for the temperature. The Playhouse is covered but open on the sides. Big ceiling fans ease the heat on hot, summer days.


In addition to the eateries in and around Mt. Gretna, the Playhouse also has a concession stand! We sell various drinks and snacks, such as water, coffee drinks, soda, and candy, both before the performance and during intermission. The inviting smell of our delicious popcorn is a staple of our performance nights in the playhouse!