Salieu Suso was born into a family of farmers and traditional musicians/historians from The Gambia, West Africa, that extends back nearly one thousand years. He was trained to play the 21-stringed kora (West African harp) at the age of eight, by his father, the renowned kora player of that region Alhaji Musa Makang Suso. He is recognized to be a descendant of JaliMady Wulayn Suso, the originator of the kora.
Suso graduated from high school in The Gambia and speaks fluent English, as well as Mandigo, Fula, Wolof, Sarahuli, and some German. Before settling in the United States in 1989, he performed extensively throughout Africa and Europe. He is also the leader of the Jaliya Kafo! Extended Family Music Ensemble, and is a leader in the nation’s rapidly growing African music scene. Suso actively freelances with other groups in the United States.