By Edward Francis Dalliah
The Baxi Bombong Couture (BBC) Tailoring Shop awarded Jaliba Kuyateh The Gambia’s ‘King of Kora’ for his contribution to Gambian Music and society at the National Museum of The Gambia on 2nd May 2023. The Gambian Kora maestro who has amassed decades of experience still attracts numerous admirers from across the globe and was recently awarded by the Goldsmiths University in the United Kingdom in January 2023.
According to a social media post by the British High Commission paying homage to Jaliba Kuyateh, he “is the only Gambian appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his charitable work with children in the Gambia”.
The award ceremony which took place in Banjul at the National Museum attracted dignitaries from the BB Couture, the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and members of the press.
Among the various items awarded to the Kora Maestro are a decorated chair, a decorated staff and a certificate of appreciation. The proprietor of BB Couture, Mr Momodou Salieu Jallow is a Tailor by profession with a Tailoring shop on the Latrikunda Sabiji highway.
Speaking to our reporter at the award ceremony he recalled a previous award to another Gambian artist. “In 2017 I gave an award to ST, which he did not turn down and it was held at my Tailoring workshop”, said Mr Jallow.
Mr Jallow commended Jaliba Kuyateh for his humility and recalls that he has organised programs in the past and donated all proceeds from the programs back to the organisers for their worthy cause. Another reference to the charitable that Jaliba has dispensed in the past is to support schools when the local community came knocking on his doors to assist. Mr Jallow noted that Jaliba Kuyateh pledged to support “and he worked hard until they had the school”.
Another person who received an award on the day was the young carpenter who crafted the decorated Chair and Staff. He was given a certificate of appreciation and embued with words of encouragement. The main award receiver, Jaliba Kuyateh thanked the organisers in his speech and expressed his satisfaction at receiving the award.
Reflecting on his previous achievements, Jaliba Kuyateh said, “I was going around playing for schools free of charge”. He also noted that he has been receiving uncountable awards both nationally and internationally, however, he regards this as “the most touching” he has received so far.