Alhaji Bai Konteh from Brikama (born1920; died 1983) was one of Gambia’s foremost kora players of his generation. His grandfather, Jali Ndaba Konteh, was a Konting player who originally brought his family to Brikama from the Kankaba region of Mali. Bai Konteh’s father, Burama Konteh, was also a celebrated kora player and composed several important pieces in the repertoire.

Alhaji Bai Konteh began playing the kora in his early teens and developed his own unique style combining elements of his Malian musical legacy with the tunings and songs of the coastal region. He was also a renowned teacher and kora-maker.  In 1972 he made the pilgrimage to Mecca from which he received the title ‘Alhaji’. 

During the early 70’s Alhaji Bai Konte performed regularly on Radio Gambia and Radio Senegal

narrating history and several epics, including the epic of King Abdou Njiie. He was also one of the first Kora players to travel to the USA where he toured in the 70’s and 80’s. He recorded several albums during this period with his son, Dembo Konteh (1948 - 2014) and Malamini Jobarteh (1942 - 2013). Many of the young players still see him as one of the Godfathers of Kora even today.

Alhagie Bai Konteh



Short Film on Alhaji Bai Konte by Oliver Franklin and Marc Pevar

Filmed & Edited by Harold Yates and Lenore French and Rob Wallace

Narrated by Taj Mahal

Duration: 11:58

Hi-Res        Lo-Res

A documentary film on the Making of the Kora featuring Jali Nyama Suso, Alhaji Bai Konteh, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh and Malamini Jobarteh.  Although never originally  intended for release this archival film by Roderick Knight captures some of the finest kora players of a generation working in their element to demonstrate the making and performing of the Kora.

Duration: 14:06

Hi-Res        Lo-Res


Burama Konteh

Jali Nyama Suso

Alhaji Abdoulaye Samba

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh

Dembo Konteh

Malamini Jobarteh


Dembo Konteh

Malamini Jobarteh

Sherrifo Konteh