Jali Pa Suso Talks About History

Jali Pa Suso, Guest of ML Sillah

The approachable and down to earth griot commonly and fondly nicknamed Jali Seattle discusses the history of Fulladou, Toumana, and the then fortress of Tambasansang. Pa Suso, who is based in the United States, elaborates on his own personal heritage. In that he stated that Jalis (griots) of the past played instrumental role in the political, economic and social functions of kingdoms and territories.

The activist griot wonders why some people find it strange that a traditional griot is active in the political struggle. He makes reference to his great grandfather who participated in battles.  “Griots should also be active in seeing that democracy and the rule of law exist.”

Jali Seattle also fondly talks about the Kora Kunda family and their reign during the Musa Molloh rule of Fulladou. Musa Molloh governed by reaching out to allies due to the challenges he encountered from many freeborn Fulas who were then giving allegiance to his uncle and brother.

“Our heritage is something we cannot throw away or disregard,” Jali Suso said, emphasising the important role of griots as custodians of our oral history. The Suso kunda griot family in Tambasansang have a say when it comes to the narrative of Fulladou and environs. Pa Suso spoke adoringly of the Kora Kunda lineage.  His close relationships with the natives of Tambasansang is noticeable in the entire program.

Pa Suso will make the discourse a series which may not follow any particular pattern, however, listeners will benefit from his rich knowledge in the conversation.



  1. We are indeed proud of your contributions not only in Seattle Gambian community but also in our fight for democracy and rule of law. A lot of Gambian musicians or griots should follow your foot steps. Jaliba should have done what you are doing but it is distasteful to see him singing praises of individuals without talking about social justices and dictatorship in our country which will earn him respect for generation to come if he did . But jaliba singing praise for individual to feel good about themselves and at the same time attaching high social status to those individuals in both Gambia and abroad is the most irresponsible way of musical prostitution. I hope young Gambian musicians will emulate you and the likes of Bob Marley, lucky Dube, and others to emancipate our people from clutches of dictatorship.

  2. Brother Pa Suso, you rock. I enjoyed your conversation with Mohammed Sillah. There are certain areas i think you can elaborate. How did the song Allalake came about. thanks once more.

  3. Lafia Touray la Manju

    The Jaliba needs to say something about the Tourays as well. Doesn’t he want me to shower him with some dollars. Our base in Northern Mali is Gao. We then moved into Guinea and ruled until the death of Saikou Touray. How can we be forgotten, Jali? Say something about us lol!

  4. LaFia Touray , I would recommend that you give those dollars to UDP as your membership dues for The promotion of democracy and rule of law . Jaliba singing praises about tourays has no significance in improving your live or any gambian for that matter . Though it is your right to waste your money anyhow you want lol . I am not against Jaliba if he sing and play his music on worthy causes or if he talks about social justices or our current predicament. Jaliba should take a stand and do the right thing by advocating for justices and equality for all . This is because he has a voice and thousands of Gambians listen to his music or kora. We need to move from culture of self importance to culture of equality. I have seem how Gambians suffer to get their money simply because they want Jaliba to sing praises of self importance about them rather than they engage Jaliba and other musicians for worthy causes . It is about time we change from tradition of self glorification (by attaching special high status to individual families ) to humble and equitable society where everyone is being respected and treated as equal. I respect the rights of anyone who engage in feel good , money spending , praise singing with Jaliba . Just my thought .

  5. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Max, you wish I am not proud of my culture and history?? You are having a laugh. I don’t stop anyone from being proud of their culture or history neither do I look down on anybody’s culture and history.

    We got to have something else to do beside politics sometimes. It’s called taking a break.

    Everyone knows that I adore UDP and Gambia but my culture and history pre-dated all these two entities.

    I can spend my money any how I like, and if it will offend the mandinkaphobics, I will spend it more on celebrating Mandingo culture and history. How about that?? You people need to find a GP for your diagnose.


  6. LaFia touray ,
    I am not implying that you or anyone shouldnt be proud of their culture . Culture is very important in our lives because it determine who we are as a people and what we are doing as a community. But if you look at what Jaliba is doing in terms of praise singing , what benefits do you get to improves our society rather than personal glorification or self importance of individuals and some families . My opinion is not against mandingo tribe because there are other tribes who are doing the same thing . I am talking about musicians like Jaliba who engage in praise singing without talking about social justices or current predicament. I know you like to involve tribe in every discussion but my focus is about the message Jaliba or other musicians should have been doing to increase awareness on social justices .,
    Politics is integral part of our lives . Jaliba sitting on the fence like other Gambian musicians is deservice to our people .
    While you disagree with me , you have every rights to celebrate any culture or history of your choice and I respect your choices . My concern is negativity that comes with praise singing and its impact on our community. Culture is subject to changes and that is why we evolve and discard some negative cultural vices. Examples include female genital mutilation , musicians praise singing for personal gains or glorification of some individuals . I want to believe that glorification or self importance of some individuals in our society can lead to the sense of entitlement because those individuals may feel that they have high social status or recognition. The sense of entitlement can also lead to corruption . There is correlation between praise singing and corruption in our society . This is because , praise singing musicians never praise any poor guy but only the rich and the powerful who will continue to abuse and control us .
    It is time to evaluate every public figure what is their stand on our current predicament and Jaliba is no exception to that rule . It would be nice to see him singing about inequalities, social justices , corruption , human rights abuses rather than singing about ” musa Dibba gave me a car when i went to Paris ” lol or LaFia’s great grandfather owned Gambia 100 years ago . Let him talk about issues that matters in our lives like what jali Suso is doing.
    Just my opinion. Respect .

  7. Lafia Touray la Manju

    The role of the Jalis is to educate people on heritage, culture and history. And by the way, my great grand father never owned Gambia. There is and have always been a collective ownership over The Gambia throughout history. One thing I know for sure is that my great grand father will reel in his brave if I accept to be treated as a second class citizen in The Gambia because I wasn’t born a second class citizen neither was my grandfather and father.


  8. Thank you Lafia Touray for your explanatin of the roles of Jalis , to educate people about heritage , culture and history . However , the roles of Jalis goes far beyond the explanation you have given above.. According to jali pa Suso , “Jalis of the past played instrumental role in the political, economic and social functions of the kingdoms and territories “. Therefore , it is fallacious to think that their roles is limited to traditional social functions which many subscribes to . This is why My call for Jaliba to engage in meaningful political and social justices awareness is a justifiable one. Our society lack of understanding of the importance roles Jalis play in political and social processes is what lead to Jalis lack of recognitions and their growth in their musical careers . Jalis plays importance roles in national development not just as entertainers but also educating people of issues of national concern and as an instrument of change . This is why senegalese musicians played huge roles in their democratization process . This is evidence by them speaking up against injustices and corruptions in their country . Youssu and other Senegalese musicians have demonstrated this when Abdoulie Wade attempted to overstay his welcome . They joined forces with other opposition parties to ensure that macky sall was elected . Subsequently, youssu ndure was appointed a minister of culture . If you listen of Bob marley and lucky Dube , you will notice that their lyrics or songs is about social justices , freedom and call for better societal values . This is what Gambian musicians also needs to understand . Throughout history , music has been a source of inspiration for oppressed and suppressed people . This was also evidence by songs sang by slaves during the period of slavery as a means to inspire and boost their moral . Why not Jaliba , the biggest Gambian star set the stage for young Gambian musicians to follow rather than engage in musical prostitution for personal gains and individual glorification. I have huge respect for those who played their roles in political, economic and social functions . Jalis are the most important primary educators of our society because we all want to be entertained and have fun , but this should come with responsibility to ensure that right messeges are propagated .

  9. Max you are not man enough to criticise Jammeh in the open and yet you want to blame others. Jaliba’s
    contribution to the promotion of culture and social justice is out there in his many songs and every body cannot be a faceless cyber warrior, just my thought.

  10. John Njie , thank you for being too intelligent to know that I do not criticize Jammeh in public . That said , you haven’t made any explanation with evidence to present your case . Tell me a single song where Jaliba is advocating for social justices ? Tell me if Jaliba ever sing about human rights abuses , equality or promote freedom of speech in his songs ? Do Jaliba ever participate in fund raising that help to promote democracy and rule of law. I will be glad to have your explanation. I have made referenced to musicians like youssu ndure , Bob Marley and lucky Dube as an example of those who participated in political discourse using their music . For the last 20 years I have never heard Jaliba participate in any fund raising or sing any song that help to raise awareness about oppression and suppression of Gambian people . Please put forward your evidence for the world to see . If you are genuine contributor , you should have come up with evidence to support your claims so that you can educate me or the public . My statements are all back up with examples to prove my points . I look forward to your evidence. Thanks

  11. John Njie, Since you fail to respond to my questions, I think you are a troll who came to distract. Until you come up with your evidences, I would assume you are the faceless cyber bully.

  12. Faceless Cyber Warriors are borne by dictactorships and extreme oppression of the people of a country.
    John Njie, you are the cyber oppressor, and your camp.

    See that?,……’ you are man this, you are not man that’, you see that folks?
    The Musa Mollo, Jankeh wally,Ansu Massin…., in the twenty first century,this time not bows and arrows, and spears but, with twenty first century weapons.

    This is what the international righteous maestro JALIBA said,’he who fights and run away, lives to fight another day’. Hon. Robert Nesta Marley; voice of the faceless and voiceless. R.I.P

  13. Ggapm Agapm , John Njie is not interested in intelligent discussion in which we can learn from each other to move our country forward . Just because you don’t like my comments about Jaliba and other musicians doesn’t mean my comments are not true . We should always ask ourselves what are doing that others are doing differently to be head of us ? Gambia and senegal have very similar if not the same culture , but why they are more advance than us in terms of political awareness, Human rights and democracy? They are ahead because they simply accept new ideas and change from old ways of doing things . So jaliba and others also needs to change from misconceived notion that they role in social function is to entertain and people give them money . They need to come up with strategy to improve themselves and explore the real role of their profession. I admire Jaliba’s skills but it is some of his songs and the conduct of his business that I have problem with . thanks

  14. Mr. max, you are absolutely right about this to the maximum. It is there for even Mr. John Njie to see for himself; IF he wants to be real with himself. Max the only problem now is, Mr. John is not saying anything and i think he should be saying something to defend his stand.
    I therefore urge Mr. John to come back into this important national discourse, rather than snub.