Tili saba comes nearly a decade after his debut album, Sila Kang. He created Tili Saba with harmony in community and cohesion in mind. Therefore, by no accident, the album was produced with contributions from many notable musicians in The Gambia and the UK.
Tili Saba means three days in Mandinka. The expression comes from an adage that says, “The world is made up of three days, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” The term symbolizes the transition of time and carries wisdom rooted in recognition of the world’s transient nature. For Sura, Tili Saba embodies this expression–it explores the past, draws inspiration from the present, and contemplates the future through the Kora and its journey across centuries
Tili Saba carries the listener on a journey across periods and settings, immersing them in Gambian music’s warm and uplifting sounds. Nyancho, an upbeat, multilayered rearrangement of traditional antique composition, was recorded with some of the best Gambian instrumentalists, including Kebba Taylor on the bass guitar, Yusupha Suso on the balafon.
Recorded between The Gambia and The UK, the album includes contributions from Sura’s brilliant brother Suntou Susso as a percussionist (Suntou is also a kora player) and the golden voice of Binta Suso, his sister, as a backing vocalist.
The song Molu explores modern Gambian sounds, blending digitally produced beats with the Kora, the Sabar, and the Tama. On this track, Sura worked with one of Gambia’s top producers, Jlive Music. Molu was released as a single on the 31st. December 2020 and still enjoys extensive airplay on Gambia radios.
Sura Susso is long known for experimenting with different genres, which has led him to perform and record in several interesting cross-cultural settings. One could mention collaborations with the great British-German violinist Maximilian Baillie, Chinese erhu player Ling Peng, and French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz. In this new album, Sura collaborates with his longtime friend and fellow musician, the talented multi-instrumentalist Pete Josef to create two magnificent and mesmerizing instrumental pieces (Kora & piano), Sabally (track 2) and Makki (track 8).
The two artists are already talking about making an entire album together.
One of the highlights of the album is the song “Kata Keh.” It is the only solo piece in the album. The soulful strings of the Kora and Sura’s lone, melancholic voice allow a thorough appreciation of his talents as a singer, songwriter, and kora player.