Sefo Kanuteh

Sefo will be teaching beginners and intermediate/improvers Kora at this year’s Drum Camp. We are particularly looking forward to his performance on Friday night with Bass Viola player Layil Barr.

Sefo is a virtuosic, soulful and authentic kora and balafon player.  Sefo’s accomplishments are evident from his rich cultural DNA and impressive collaborations with some of Africa’s most successful artists. 

Sefo has worked closely on major projects with the likes of Baba Maal and at the Théâtre National Daniel Sorano, Dakar Senegal.   This is testament to his deep knowledge of Mande tradition and history; the music of his roots.

Sefo grew up in Foday Kunda on the banks of the River Gambia and was raised by a family of highly-skilled kora and balafon players. Sefo’s musical education was a way of life. In addition to learning through relatives, he absorbed his environment into his music, soaking up the language, culture and music of his Mandinka people and those of neighbouring countries.

Sefo’s compositions are a melodic mixture of highly-valued traditional pieces, intertwined with styles from every continent, thus firmly planting Sefo as a contemporary Mande musician. His music sings of his life, family and freedom.

Certain of his cultural roots, Sefo’s kora and balafon blends beautifully with other genres including Latin, reggae, jazz, blues and pop. His playing can also provide an exquisite solo focus offering an original and artistic dimension to other collaborations, such as this year with Layil Barr

Layil’s playing has been described as ‘unforgettable’ and ‘stupendous’. She has become renowned for her dynamic interpretations of music from all ages and has been hailed as one of the most virtuosic recorder players of the times.

Layil studied at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music, London with Philip Thorby, where she was introduced to the viol by Alison Crum. During this time she made broadcasts for the Jerusalem Music Centre and won several awards including the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Award, the Dorothy Stone Award and the TCM Silver Medal for Early Music. As a soloist Layil has performed with various orchestras including The Royal Artillery Orchestra and The Israeli Chamber Orchestra, and has toured the USA, China, Korea, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and the UK.

Layil is a founder and co-director of Eclipse and also directs the ‘Mi Luna’ ensemble. She also plays with many Early and World Music groups including La Concert Des Nations, under the direction of Jordi Savall, The Telling, Charivari Agreable, Minerva and Siena, with whom she has performed in the Purcell Room, and made recordings of music by Salamone Rossi for the Classical Recording Company. She has also recorded with different early music ensembles and a world music project including singer Mor Kabasi.

Year Contributions
2017 Performance and Kora Workshops
2016 Balafon and Kora Workshops


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