The Kora is essentially a harp-lute; there are no frets and there is one note per string. It has 21, sometimes 22, strings made from fishing line. It originates from the Mande peoples of West Africa. Need help tuning? Check our How to Tune Your Kora page.
As with any oral tradition there are many different narratives about the kora and its origins. It has been played for two to three hundred years, but the Jaliya tradition it is played within is much older. In addition to our own site, you will find information on many of the musicians’ own websites, plus there are many ethnomusicologists who have dedicated years of study to the kora and to the Jaliya tradition, so check out the Music, Books and Films and our Friends‘ pages for links to other valuable sources of information. If you have any information you think we could add, do let us know.
If you are learning or thinking about learning we have lots of resources and ways for you to learn. We have also created groups on Facebook Learning Kora – Worldwide and Learning Kora – UK. We’re delighted that they have grown to be such a useful resource for anyone interested in the kora – it is independent of us (though Kath is one of the the moderators) and people can share links to videos and music, advertise gigs, workshops and koras. Some people have found fellow kora students just around the corner from their homes, literally.
You are always free to contact us with any questions, though do read through this website, there is a lot of information here.
Conor, who developed our first ‘proper’ website several years ago, managed to sum us up when adding some text to the initial page. We’ve chosen to keep it 🙂
We love them. You can buy them from us. We also teach you how to play them.