West African Griot to perform at Penn State Schuylkill

On Tuesday, March 19, Papa Susso will be bringing his music and oral history to Penn State Schuylkill. Susso, who has performed on the campus before, will be presenting his music and oral history in two of Charles Cantalupo, distinguished professor of English, comparative literature, and African studies, classes, in addition to a two-hour presentation from noon to 2 p.m. at a luncheon on the campus. The classes are open to all members of the campus community.

Alhaji Papa Susso, master kora (African harp-lute) player and oral historian from The Gambia, West Africa, hails from a long line-going back to the 13th-century Griots (traditional oral historians) Mandinka people. He was taught the kora by his father and has been playing since the age of 5.

The kora, a 21 stringed harp-lute, evolved from earlier hunter harps used by the Mandinka people of West Africa. It was the preferred instrument of Mandinka  Jalolu (griot), itinerant musicians, who were traditionally attached to royal courts where their duties included recounting the tribal history and genealogy , composing commemorative songs and performing at important state events.

Today, Papa Susso is a goodwill ambassador traveling internationally to a distinguished variety of universities and arts festivals, to share his culture with others. He gives both classroom presentations and formal concert performances where he recounts the West African culture and performs the classic songs of the griot repertoire.

For more information on Papa Susso’s visit to Penn State Schuylkill, contact:
Charles Cantalupo, 570-385-6055 or cxc8@psu.edu; Salih Hakan Can, chairperson of Global Programs and Education Task Force at Penn State Schuylkill, 570-385-6074 or shc11@psu.edu; or Cory Scherer, coordinator of Schuylkill Campus Honors Program at 570-385-6066 or crs15@psu.edu

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Last Updated March 07, 2013