Juldeh Camara


Born in 1966 in Basse, West Africa, Juldeh Camara is a Gambian griot and master musician.

His blind father received the gift of music from forest spirits who took the use of his eyes in return. Playing the ritti, a one-stringed fiddle, he participated as a griot in traditional Fula society. Today, Camara has been recognised as the leading ritti player in the world. He has played with Ifang Bondi, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Batanai Marimba, Knut Reiersrud, kora player Seckou Keita, and Tunde Jegede's African Classical Ensemble, where in 2009 he performed at St. Denis Cathedral in Paris which included Oumou Sangare, Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate, Sambou Susso and the Brodsky Quartet. More recently he has establised a successful partnership with Justin Adams, releasing their collaborative albums Soul Science, Tell No Lies in May 2009 and The Trance Sessions EP in February 2010.

"Gambian musician Juldeh Camara is a virtuoso on the ritti. In his hands, this rustic, one-stringed fiddle provides a supple accompaniment to his vocals: rolling fables, wry observations and passionate declamations, all sung in the Fulani language. He's an immensely likable performer..." The Guardian

Juldeh has the drive and effortless flow of a great bluesman. While his instrument brings to mind American Delta players like Big Joe Williams, as well as Ali Farka Touré, there is a lilt in his playing that hints at the ancient links between North Africa and the Celtic World. He describes magical shapes on his ritti; one minute it's Blues harp, the next a Celtic fiddle, then a Saharan herdsman's flute. It is hard to believe all this emotion, range and flexibility comes from just one string.