Kora Harp


Mali , Gambia , Burkina Faso , Guinea , Sierra Leone , Senegal.

The Kora is the principal chordophone of Africa. It is played in the westernmost part of Africa in Mali, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. Each of the regions has characteristic playing styles and to some extent a region can be deduced from specific repertoire, but they share quite of bit of repertoire as well. The people most famous for the development of the Kora are the Mandinka of the Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau. The Kora is made from a half a gourd calabash (a vine tree grown for its very large and hard, bottle shaped fruit) with a hardwood post that runs through it to which the strings are attached. The calabash is covered with a cowhide that is stretched over the open side of the half calabash and then left in the sun to dry tight and hold the hand posts in place. A tall bridge is mounted upright on the skin face of the instrument and separates the strings into two planes. The Kora is strung with fishing line, in the days before fishing line was available braided antelope hide was used.

The Kora player supports the instrument with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers and the notes are played with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands. A Kora musician may accompany his own voice or he may have a Jeli Woman sing the vocal line while tapping the rhythm on the calabash. Kora repertoire may also be performed instrumentally.

Wood , Cowrie shells , Cotton strings , Leather

Height : 28.5″ (72.4cm) , Width : 10″ (25.4cm)