Traditional musical instruments make useful symbols of identity because they are often unique to a particular social group and therefore serve as markers of distinction from other groups. This is true of the ekonting (see figure 1), a three-stringed plucked lute that is played almost exclusively by people of the Jola ethnic group in Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. One player of the ekonting (pl. sikonting) describes the instrument much like an identification badge: “No matter where you go, if you see someone playing the ekonting, you will know that person is a Jola.” Ethnomusicological literature abounds with similar cases, where there is said to be a one-to-one relationship between a musical instrument and the social identity of the performer. However, constructivist models of social identity, emphasizing multiplicity, changeability, and relationality, complicate this apparently straightforward relationship, even if ethnomusicologists too often treat the subject of identity in contradictory ways (Rice 2007). In this paper, I approach the ekonting through sociologist Margaret Somers's (1994, 1992) paradigm of narrative identity, which emphasizes the relational and ontological qualities of narrative production. I argue that the ekonting serves not as a signifier of an a priori social identity, but instead as a site for the narrative production of Jola ethnicity. This narrative production both differentiates Jolas from—and associates them with—other regional, national, and transnational identity narratives. After an explanation of this paradigm and a contextualization of the cultural stakes, I demonstrate this argument through two vignettes describing different directions of narrative production around the ekonting.