Bio

Salieu Suso was born into a family of farmers and traditional musicians/historians  from Gambia, West Africa, that extends back nearly 1000 years. He was trained to play the 21 stringed Kora (West African Harp) at the age of 8, by his father, renowned Kora player of that region, Alhaji Musa Makang Suso. He is recognized to be a descendant of JaliMady Wulayn Suso, the originator of the Kora instrument. Suso graduated from high school in The Gambia, speaks English fluently, Mandigo, Fula, Wolof, Sarahuli, and some German. Before settling in the United States in 1989, Suso performed extensively throughout Africa and Europe. Salieu Suso is also the leader of the "Jaliya Kafo"--extended family Music Ensemble, and is a leader in the nation’s rapidly growing African music scene. Suso actively freelances with other groups in the U.S

 

Recordings:                  

Griot, an Album of solo Kora and Vocal Performances. Lyrichord Discs, 1993.

Message from Home. Ensemble Performance with renowned jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders. Produced by Bill Laswell. Verve Records, 1996.

Taking the Blues Back Home and Cheerful and Optimistic. Albums of poetry, jazz and traditional African music.  Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters. Bola Records, 1996, 1994.

“Organic Grooves” on African Travels, Sutukiung. A compilation of African dance club music. Six Degrees recordings, 2001. Also licensed on Buddha Bar presents: Amnesty International 40th Anniversary celebration CD.  2001, 2002.

“Sidi Yellah” on Badenya: Manden Jaliya in New York City. A compilation of Manden and Mandinka Music by musicians in New York City. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2001.

Two solo Kora songs called Kanu Dingo and Jango on African Dreams, a compilation of Ellipsis Arts discs.  Produced by Christina Roden, 2004.

Song: Fight for AIDS. Recorded in 2006 at the studio of Andy Warshaw in New York City.

Tootie’s Last Suit, Documentary film soundtrack. Music by Muhamadou Salieu Suso. Recorded by Pomegranate Productions. Produced by Lisa Katzmant film. 2007.


Performance Highlights:

Numerous lectures, demonstrations, teachings, and workshops in addition to concerts and ceremonies, including:

City Hall, African Union Day Celebration, New York.  Kora performance for United Africa Congress, Inc., September 9, 2009

Symphony Space, New York.  Kora performance with Les Enfants du Soleil Dance Company, August 21, 2009

United Nations, International Youth Assembly, New York.  Kora performance, August 5, 2009

Philipsburg Manor, Pinkster African American Celebration, New York.  Solo Kora performance, May, 2009

Metropolitan Pavilion, American Cancer Society Taste of Hope Event, New York.  Kora performance,  April 28, 2009

African Burial Ground National Monument, Black History Month Program, New York.  Jaliya

Kafo performance, February 17, 2009

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Reopening Celebration, New York.  Badinya performance, December 6, 2009

School District of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Performance workshop and storytelling,  2005-2009

UASD-UNESCO: Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Guest artist of the Faculty of Humanities. Catedra Sobre Africa, America y el Caribe y su Diaspora: Solo Kora & Vocal Performance & Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano. Workshops in schools and de Museo Cofradia Espiritu Santo Villa Mella en Mata los Indios, January 25-31, 2008

Midori & friends, 2nd Annual Children’s Music Festival, New York.  BMCC Tribeca Performing Art’s Center. Performed with Forest Dance.  June 9, 2007

Longwood Art Gallery. Hostos Community College, New York.  BRIO Winner for (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Artist Awards. June 6 2007

APOLLO Theater Harlem Kwanzaa Celebration, Regeneration Night, New York. Performed with Spirit Ensemble. December 29 2006

Rubin Museum of Art, NYC. Ongoing weekend solo performances from April 10, 2005-2008

Seattle Town Hall and Schools, Washington.  Performed with Manden Music Ensemble, April 2006

Queens Library. Enrich your life: Kwanzaa the celebration continues, New York. Performed with Jaliya Kafo. December 27, 2005

Kid Notes at Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, New York. Performed with Heritage O.P  November 20, 2005

Pace University for the Performing Arts Center, New York.  Performed with Spirit Ensemble. February 14, 2005

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, INC., New York. Performed with Spirit Ensemble, Celebrating 25 years of Entertainment. February 7, 2005

College of the Staten Island, New York. Solo Kora performance at Kwanzaa celebration. December 10, 2004

Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania. Performance with Imani African Dance Co., June 19,  2004

Hamlin University St. Paul, Minnesota. Solo Kora performance at African Arts exhibit, April 2, 2004

California State University, Fresno, CA. Performed with Manden Music and Dance Society. February  6, 2003

Rutgers University, New Jersey. Center for African Studies solo Kora performance. September 7, 2003

The School at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, New York. Cultural Tradition Workshop with Director   Dr. Reginald Yates. August 22, 2003

Martin Luther King Celebration, New York. Performance of African Jaliya Kafo. Sponsored by  African American Men of Westchester, Inc., January 18, 2002

Rockland Psychiatric Center, New York. African comes to America Jaliya Kafo performance, February 6, 2002

Amsted Freedom Awards, New York.  Performed with the Spirit Ensemble, April 30, 2002

Dag Harmmarskjold Auditorium, United Nations, New York.  Performed The Vengeance of Miami Wata with the Rosemary Grouer Dance Company, July 6, 2002

Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Family day Jaliya Kafo Performance August 19, 2002

Festival Vancouver, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Performance with Masabo Culture Company African Connections program, August 7, 2002

Harlem School of the Arts, New York. The African Nutcracker, December 25, 2002

Wave Hill Garden Center, New York. Guard celebration performance with Spirit Ensemble, October 20, 2001

The Museum of African Arts, New York. Family Programs Jaliya Kafo performance, February 19, 2001

The Hofstra University, New York. Africana Studies program, Cultural Center Theater performance with Lasiri, June 10, 2000

City Center Theatre, Badenya 2000: The Spirit of Hope, with Miriam Makeba, New York. Performance of New York City based African Artists, May 20, 2000

New York University, Celebration of Wole Soyinka, New York.  Solo Kora performance, February 18, 1999

Lincoln Center Out of Doors: African Heritage Day, New York. Performance with Jaliya Kafo, August 9, 1998

City Center, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater 40th Anniversary Opening, New York.  Solo Kora performance, December 2, 1998

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, African Odyssey Festival, Washington D.C. Solo Kora performance, December 18, 1996.

Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, New Jersey. Folklore Program, solo Kora Performance, March 9, 1996

Lincoln Center, Songs of Kings and Warriors, New York. Performance with Manden Music & Dance, July 20, 1995

Bronx Ethnic Music and Dance Festival, New York.  Jaliya Kafo performance, June 17, 1995

The Kathryn Bache Miller Theater, Columbia University, New York. Performance with Drums of Fire, February 25, 1994

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Georgia.  Performance at Passport to the World Program, October 22, 1994

Cooperative Educational Services, Connecticut. Solo Kora and storytelling performance, October 28, 1993.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Solo Kora performance, February 16, 1992

John Jay College Student Activities Association, Inc., New York. Jaliya Kafo performance, July 1, 1992

Kalamazoo College & Public Museum, Wisconsin. Solo Kora performance and storytelling,  May 16/17, 1992

Camden College of Arts & Sciences, African American Studies Program, New Jersey. Performance with Ballet African de Papa Ladji Camara, September 26 1990

The Bronx Zoo, New York. Performance with Ballet African de Papa Ladji Camara, July 12, 1990