Berklee College of Music Confers Honorary Doctorate Degree Upon Sona Jobarteh for Her Outstanding Musical Career
Gambian musician and educator Sona Jobarteh was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music on Wednesday, April 4, 2023. The ceremony was held at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston.
Sona Jobarteh was officially hooded by the president of Berklee, Dr. Erica Muhl. Dr Muhl delivered a powerful speech honouring Dr. Jobarteh’s work and career, saying “Sona embodies our best aspirations as a community. Consummate artistry, innovative composition, stellar production, original scholarship, humanitarian activism, mastery and expansion of great musical traditions. Not to mention a ground-breaking, world changing career.”
Sona embodies our best aspirations as a community. Consummate artistry, innovative composition, stellar production, original scholarship, humanitarian activism, mastery and expansion of great musical traditions. Not to mention a ground-breaking, world changing career.Dr. Erica Muhl
In her acceptance speech, Jobarteh thanked Berklee for the honor, and she spoke about the importance of music education. She said, “Music is a powerful tool for change, and it can be used to unite people and inspire them to make a difference in the world.”
Jobarteh is an inspiration to musicians and women all over the world. She is a role model for young people who want to break down barriers and achieve their dreams.
About Sona Jobarteh
Sona Jobarteh is a Gambian musician and educator. She is a master kora player, a 21-string harp-lute that is traditionally played by men in West Africa. Jobarteh is the first woman in her family to learn the instrument, and she has been breaking down barriers ever since.
Jobarteh began playing the kora at the age of four, and she quickly became a skilled musician. She toured with her father, kora master Dembo Konte, and she released her first album, “Djeliya,” in 1999.
Jobarteh has since released five more albums, and she has toured all over the world. She has also been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and education in Africa.
Jobarteh is a recipient of numerous awards, including the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Best Female Artist in 2002. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
About Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music is a private nonprofit institution of higher education in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the world’s leading music schools, with a focus on contemporary music and performance. Berklee offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, as well as a variety of professional development programs.
The school was founded in 1945 by Lawrence Berk, a jazz pianist and educator. Berklee’s mission is to “develop exceptional musicians who are creative, collaborative, and prepared to lead in the music industry.”
Berklee has over 5,000 students from over 70 countries. The school’s alumni include many of the world’s most famous musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, and John Mayer.
Berklee is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The school is also a member of the Association of Independent Music Schools (AIMS).