Gretna Music presents jazz bass legend Buster Williams on Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. and female kora player Sona Jobarteh on Sunday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. Both concerts take place in the Mt. Gretna Playhouse, 200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mt. Gretna PA.

Buster Williams is a prodigious artist whose playing knows no limits. He has played, recorded and collaborated with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Benny Golson and Count Basie; just to name a few. This concert is presented in partnership with Central PA Friends of Jazz.

Buster Williams

Sona Jobarteh is the first professional female kora virtuoso to come from any of the West African Griot dynasties. Backed up by her band, what she can do with this west African instrument is pure magic. The kora is a 21 stringed instrument. The sound resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style it bears resemblance to a guitar. Kora players have traditionally come from families who are historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants.

Buster Williams tickets are $5 – $100. Sona Jobarteh tickets are $5 – $25. Special pricing for evening performances include $5 tickets for ages 18 and under, $5 tickets for adults who bring a young person, $10 tickets for students, half price tickets for ages 30 and under, and Pay What You Will options. Call for details. For tickets and more information, call 717-361-1508 or visit

Doors for the July 29 performance will open at 7:00 pm. Doors for the July 30 performance will open at 6:30 pm and there is a First Listen performance at 6:45 pm. Our First Listen program features local talented youth in free mini-concerts before our mainstage concerts. Clarinetist Andre Hurst, a senior at Hempfield High School, will perform.

Sona was kind enough to answer our 5 Questions to help you (and us) get to know her better before the performance. Here are her responses.

5 Questions with Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh

1. How would you describe your upcoming Gretna Music concert for someone who’s never seen or heard you before?

Sona: That’s a hard question because, to me, what I do is what I think of as “music” and it doesn’t need further explanation. I have been asked to categorize it and I can’t fit it in any of the standard boxes. I could start listing influences but wouldn’t be able to stop!

2. What is the most unique or memorable place at which you’ve performed?

Sona: Wherever we are today.

3. If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Sona: Salif Keita. Because, Salif Keita!

4. What’s on your playlist when you listen to music?

Sona: Depends on the day but I listen to a very wide range of artists and genres

5. The Jigger Shop ice cream shop is a Mt. Gretna institution. What ice cream treat would you order from their menu? 

Sona: I love chocolate but the sundaes are too over the top for me. I would choose a double scoop of chocolate in a waffle cone.

Gretna Music’s mission is to bring excellent musicians to central PA.  Established in 1975, primarily as a chamber music festival, the organization now offers jazz, family shows, and other non-classical offerings during the summer at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse. The pavilion-style Mt. Gretna Playhouse offers remarkable acoustics. It is open on the sides for summer breezes, allowing the occasional birds and cicadas to join in while the musicians play. Seating area is covered, as is the stage.


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