The Jobarteh family is one of five in West Africa to have inherited the work of the griots in Mali. Maya was taught many of the traditional songs of the griot legacy by her father – members of the family have been playing this music since the 13th century.
Maya is the first woman in the family to play the kora (traditionally, the skill was only handed on from father to son), but she listens to Western classical music and pop as well. She recognises that the current popularity of world music has made West African music more widely known, but also made it more liable to mix with other styles – so that the purity of the original forms may not survive in the modern world. But for now, she believes the tradition is still very strong, and she’s determined to help sustain it.