Epitaph: Kora Maestro Jali Tata Dinding Jobarteh

Mamos Media

Alagi Yorro Jallow
I offer my heartfelt prayers and condolence to all of Late Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh’s family, friends, fans, and the entire Gambia music fraternity. He will be so sorely missed by so many. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who feel the pain that I feel today.
As the news of the passing of a Kora Maestro broke on a sad day, August 21, the heartbreak and sadness felt by many of us had to be juggled by the stoical sense of realism in the artistic creativity and knowledge that a critically ill man, who had dedicated the vast majority of his life entertaining and educating people described being amongst one of
‘greatest Kora Maestro’ men the Gambia has ever seen could finally be laid to rest.
Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh was an international figure, loved by most, admired by even those who do not like the taste of his music. In his life and even in his death, he has impacted the Gambia and the world at large and set the tone for being a citizen of the world for all generations. While his passing had been expected for a long time coming, the loss of this great man, musician, and icon was one that those who loved him were still unprepared for.
As I read all the accolades and eulogies from Gambians and non Gambians on social media and ordinary folk on social media celebrating Tatadinding Jobarteh’s life and legacy, I also reflect on his essential lessons and example offers me as a friend and a person.
Tatadinding Jobarteh delighted audiences with his artistic creativity, charisma, style of Kora music, excess skill, and humor at the peak of his career. Still, illness rendered him virtually powerless and robbed this most verbose and loquacious man of his illustrious and sterling musical career. Nevertheless, his magic touch in Kora music has been deeply woven into the fabric of his music history. Tatadinding will remain solidified as amongst one of the Gambia’s Kora music industry’s most eminent figures. However, no matter how bad his condition got, his dignity never failed to shine through. He was also part of those who revolutionized Kora music by pioneering a style against many of the game’s consecrated traditions.
Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh was an incredibly remarkable personality. His story should never stop being told to generations who may not be aware of the story of this one man who was the epitome of brilliance, humor, spirit, and willpower. He had a pure heart and a beautiful soul. His magic transcended beyond music and touched so many people. The world is less bright without Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh in it. He touched the world, and in return, the likes of myself will always love him from the bottom of our hearts. Tatadinding Jobarteh was a personal friend and a hero to me. I loved him dearly like hundreds of thousands across the world. I thank him for representing so many things in so many people’s lives and instilling in me the love of Kora Music, poetry, and freestyle rhymes.
How does one comprehensively describe the story of a man like Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh? As human beings with a stake in this world and a stake in preserving this world in a state where our children and generations after them can live in peace, a universal principle of humanity must take precedence. No community in this world can survive as an island. The world has become such a global village that none of us can afford to be concerned only for our communities, families, or countries. As part of the human family, regardless of tribe, race, religion, gender, and different sections of society, we must all be involved with the survival of one another and feel a responsibility for all individuals, communities, and peoples. We must have compassion for those in this world who suffer and for each other.
It is so heartbreaking and devastating to watch the madness going on in the world where man’s wickedness against man is seen in the form of the daily senseless bloodletting. Headlines of families being slaughtered, populations being bombed, and communities being massacred are just too unbelievable for the human senses. However, from the perspective of the oneness of humanity and a deep understanding of the acutely interconnected nature of today’s world, none of us should view the atrocities taking place in the world in isolation. Ultimately their ramifications are going to have an effect all around the world. So many of us who used to see these events so far from us have come to experience it so close to home. We in the Gambia can attest to that!
That place in our heart that the song by Micheal Jackson, “Heal the World,” urged us to seek is the place where compassion lives. We must have compassion in our choice of goals, understand our means of cooperation, and pursue these goals as individuals and in communities. Whether through dialogue, forgiveness, or a readiness to think and treat ourselves with humanity, it can give us a possible resolution for world peace.
Jali Tatadinding Jobarteh was a man who loved peace, and he used his talent to teach people how to help others. He created his song and words, opened with his messages of peace conveyed through his art lives on, and the way he performed it will always be an inspiring message in the search for peace. So as we mourn his passing, I will let the words of Tatadinding in ‘Heal the World’ speak for themselves and the message of peace that he preached when he sang: May Allah grant him Aljannah Firdausi: REST EASY BROTHER!

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