Saturday, June 7, 2014

The kora

One of the most famous instruments in West Africa is the kora - a 21 string bridge-harp traditionally played by poet/musicians known as 'griot'. Koras are generally made from large calabash gourd halves, with skin soundboards and nylon strings going over a double bridge then being fastened to a long neck in front. One plays with the thumb and index finger of each hand.

Kora player Solo Cissokho & his son Ibou Cissokho are originally from Senegal, but moved to Oslo, Norway in the 1990's. Solo Cissokho has been active in promoting West African culture to Scandinavians for a generation, and his son is also now involved in concerts, not least through tours for the Norwegian organisation 'Rikskonsertenë́'. Here they are playing a wonderful piece together, recorded at their home.

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