Originally from the Gambia, Surahata "Sura" Susso was born into a griot family, a tradition that originates from West Africa and refers to cultural figures that carry knowledge and the regional identity of their communities through song, music and poetry. Sura is the son of Mamudou Susso, one of the finest living kora players, and Fatou Binta Cissokho, who was a gifted singer and percussionis. It is no surprise that this young man has talent. Sura fuses his traditional influences with new genres in order to promote his cultural roots and heritage, creating a truly unique and innovative sound.
Sura came to the UK at the age of seventeen to tour as the percussionist in his brother’s band, The Seckou Keita Quintet. Tours with the quintet took them all around the world and provided an invaluable experience for Sura to be the professional musician he is today. He honours the role that his elder brother has played in supporting his musical journey. He stepped out in 2012 with the release of his debut album, Sila Kang.
As a soloist, Sura has performed extensively around the world – In March 2012, he was honoured to be invited to play for her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the opening ceremony for the Central Manchester City hospitals. As well as performing solo, Sura has been involved in number of collaborations with other artists. He has taken part in more than five hundred shows in over thirty different countries spanning over every continent.
Sura has been busy experimenting with fusion sounds in collaboration with high-profile classical and folk musicians, most notably violinist Max Bailie and Erhu player Ling Peng.
In a magical meeting of two string traditions, Max Baillie and Sura Susso present a mix of Baroque and West African music, including pieces by Bach, Merula and centuries-old African bardic spirituals. Having met in Senegal in 2005, Max and Sura have been playing concerts together ever since. In their own right they both lead busy performance careers and are engaged in a range of different projects. As soloists and band members has taken them to stages at major festivals including Womad, Glastonbury, as well as concert venues from London’s Southbank Centre to the Sydney Opera House, and to folk nights in Hackney warehouses and old Berlin ballrooms.
Sura Susso has collaborated on a project with Ling Peng that brings together two of the world's oldest instruments: the kora and the erhu. They joined forces to explore rhythms, melodies and song from both cultures, joined by Michael Cretu on bass and Mohinder Singh on tablas. The project culminated in a live performance at Djanogly Theatre in Nottingham.