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Alhaji Papa Susso

One of the greatest African oral poets still alive, he uses his creations to rescue the Manding region´s oral tradition.

Papa Susso has never published a book because he does not write his poems, but instead he recites them in the form of songs that tell stories, accompanied by a kora (an African musical instrument with 21 strings, similar to a harp) that his father taught him to play at the age of five.

He was born in the village of Sotuma Sere (Gambia) on September 29, 1947. He´s the director of the Koriya Musa Centre that researches Gambia´s oral tradition and history, and he´s a descendent of a long line of griots (historian poets of the oral tradition) of the Mandings (Western Africa).

Papa Susso works to embody the role of the griot, a type of juggler who uses poetry and music in order to make the community aware of the everyday events that take place.

He has participated in the inauguration of important United Nations events, and he has been invited to various university campuses throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada, where he has spoken about the history of his country and his people, discussing the role of the griot in Western African culture and performing classic songs from his repertoire.


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