Gambia: The Formidable Baye Janha – An Incredible Guitar Legend

An African man playing the xalam.

Baye Janha plays the guitar like the ancient Khalam of the Wolof tribe of the Senegambia region and the Ganawa south Moroccan sound to a mass effect with his guitar. He was the band leader of the Gelewarr band, the Super Alligators, Fabulous Eagles, Supreme Eagles, Tambato band, the Karantaba band and Ifang Bondi. His playing technique can be distinctly heard on the SARABA CD/ALBUM recorded in Senegal on Griot records. He was awarded a medal in Algeria as one of Africa’s top guitarists with his solo group The Karantaba Band.

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  1. The content of the article “The Formidable BayeJanha-An Incredible Guitar Legend” is 99,9% complete nonsense.
    Bye Janha is a very fine Gambian guitarist, who joined my band Ifang Bondi for some time in the 70s, when I was the lead guitarist, with Bye Janha backing on second guitar.
    He definitely was not the bandleader of Ifang Bondi!

    Despite his musicianship he hardly qualifies as a legend, simply because he is virtually unknown outside Senegambia.
    During his rather short career he remained essentially a local artist – with exception of his participation in a few international Ifang Bondi tours late 80’s, after which he decided to go into early retirement from music.

    The author clearly doesn’t know anything about music and certainly not about guitar playing, and the use of effects. Neither does he know anything about the style Bye Janha used to play, which was neither xalam nor gnawa.

    To complete the mess, the track “Atis-A-Tis” doesn’t feature Bye but me as the lead guitarist. Bye can only (faintly) be heard in few bars towards the coda.
    At the time I was heavily into all kind of outlandish effects, unlike Bye.
    I don’t remember him ever owning/using any effect gadgets.
    The picture doesn’t show Bye either, but Ifang Bondi’s lead singer Paps Touray and lead singer/saxophonist/flutist Ali Harb.

    The Guelewar track doesn’t feature the Mandinka kora song “Kelefa Sanneh” but a Wolof song of the manhood training center. Due to the atrocious recording Bye’s guitar playing is hardly audible.

    Anyone interested in hearing Bye Janha on his best, should listen to the Ifang Bondi album “SANJO”, showcasing some truly wonderful guitar playing by Bye Janha.

    For the record: both the song ‘Atis-A-Tis’ – of which I am the composer – and the picture are copyright protected, and use on your site is unauthorized.

    The article is completely misleading rubbish, which is very sad, because the 70s was an interesting period in the development of Gambian music, but very very different from what the author of the article tries to make us belief.

    Badou Jobe
    founder-member/bandleader/musician/composer/producer of Ifang Bondi and former Super Eagles


    • First of all I appreciate you setting the record straight but if you have a problem with the content of the article you need to take that up with the author and the publisher, both of which can be found in the article, all I did was posted a link and an excerpt. And as far as the copyright of the song and image in the video you need to take that up with the person who uploaded it and with the site that’s hosting it.

      I for one would like to see the article corrected if the facts are indeed incorrect and I would also like to see that you get any royalties that you are due and that proper credit is given for the work you’ve done. I’ve posted some links below for you to hopefully get into contact with the people responsible for both the article and the video and get everything straightened out. (To be CLEAR, I have NO association with these people! All I did was post a link and embed a video just like anyone else online can — and the contact info I’m posting I got from searching their sites.)

      For the article:

      Author: (Oko Drammeh) Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for his contact info.

      Publisher: (The Daily Observer)

      For the video:


      Host: (YouTube)

      Good luck!


      • P.S. – The videos I posted weren’t meant to showcase Janha but to give an example of the bands mentioned in the article. I am wondering…did you actually read the article or just the excerpt that I have posted here? And again, just to be CLEAR – these videos are from YOUTUBE I have nothing to do with the images that appear in them! Also, the article is written kind of funny and is hard to follow at points but it doesn’t really explicitly claim that Janha was the leader of Ifang Bondi but in fact states that he recorded as a “sideman” for Ifang Bondi.


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