| Motherland: The Score is Sona Jobarteh’s first body of work as a film-score composer. It is an innovative exploration into the cinematic representation of a classical African sound world. Whilst much of her score draws primarily on the West African Griot tradition which she was born into, she has also had to redefine it to accommodation for the demands of the visual realm.
In order to create this film score Sona has used many instruments that she has explored in different ways to that of their traditional setting. For example she uses the Kora as a bass instrument as well as tuning it to an ‘Arabic’ scale. She uses the guitar to emulate the sound of an African lute, whilst also being influenced by the West African Griot style of playing. Sona invented a new instrument called the ‘Nkoni’ specifically to capture a new sonic for this score. This instrument is a cross between the Kora and the Donso Ngoni from Mali, expanding the tonality and mood of the African musical sonic. Her vocals draw distinctively on the West African Griot style, however there are aspects which also lean towards East African influences.
Factoring into the creation of a unique African aesthetic is the avoidance of two crucial paradigms; firstly the reliance on the cinematic familiarity of western stringed instruments, and secondly the stereotypical predominance of drumming as a signature of African musical representation.
The last 5 tracks of this 15-track album journeys through different musical genres from other contributing artists which includes the reggae fusion of Asheber, the Mozambican flavours of Stewart Sukuma, the smooth should of Ocacia, and the uplifting melodies of Poppy Seed. This collective fusion of influences testifies to the diversity and splendour of the African cultural landscape.