Julaba Kunda, meaning 'trader folk', is a collaboration between fiddle players Juldeh Camara from The Gambia and Griselda Sanderson, originally from Scotland. On their album Traders (2011) they exchanged ideas from their traditions that evolved nearly 3,000 miles apart.
Griselda plays northern European folk stringed instruments as well as keyboards, and arranged and produced the recordings, which began when the pair got snowed in together with a load of recording equipment! West African Juldeh Camara sings in Fula, plays the one-stringed fiddle named riti (or nyaneru) and kologo, a small plucked lute. He has worked with iconic West African band Ifang Bondi and Justin Adams in JuJu, and more recently has been touring the world with Robert Plant in his Sensational Space Shifters.
Traders received great critical acclaim as a convincing cross-cultural collaboration. The material derives from the folk traditions of the Fulani people with elements of Scottish and Irish jigs and reels. The songs commemorate village events such as weddings. Praise songs and love songs also get an airing along with some sparkling instrumentals from these two accomplished fiddlers.
The contrast between the instruments, Griselda's intelligent arrangements and Juldeh's strident vocals combine to create a music that goes deeper than a superficial meeting of cultures.
World music fiddle collaboration
Juldeh Camara & Griselda Sanderson
Photo: Tim Dollimore