Music, Books and Films

Here we have a small selection of resources that, whilst not exhaustive, are certainly a great way to discover kora music and its history.

Whilst you’re on the hunt for kora music, make sure you have a look at our Musician Directory which has a handful of notable and famous kora players with links to their websites.


Here is a list of particularly good albums. Apart from being beautiful examples of the range of kora music, they have been chosen as essential listening for those learning to play the kora.   We have also discovered Discogs – great for tracking down albums.


If you’d like to know more about the culture that the kora originates from here are some books that you may find useful and interesting. They make great presents for kora-loving family and friends. 

Culture & Customs of Senegal

A general guide and although we think it concentrates on life in the north, rather than all of Senegal, it gives some useful insights.

Mande Music

Very detailed and comprehensive; a rather academic but essential reading for the serious student.

The Kora

Highly recommended, clearly written and comprehensive.

Book cover

A few films and documentaries – we’d love to grow this list, so let us know about any relevant documentaries, particularly about the Jaliya tradition, Mandinka history and the kora in general.

Mandekalou – DVD

Documentary film based on the album of the same name.  Recounts the CD recording by following the Western African griots’ history.

Mandekalou DVD Cover

Griot (2011)

A highly praised, celebratory documentary of the tradition by the trumpeter, composer and director  Volker Goetze, colleague and friend of Senegalese Ablaye Cissoko

Griot film poster


This 1995 film retells part of the 13th-century epic, Sundjata.

Film Title page

La Pirogue (2012)

The moving story of a group of Senegalese men who set off for Europe on a simple fishing boat, hoping for a better life. A powerful depiction of a story that is relevant worldwide.

French – Subtitled

Bamako (2007)

Feature film, released at Cannes Film Festival surrounding a trial in Bamako. Deals with corruption and globalisation in relation to the current financial state of many poverty-stricken African countries.

Buy from Amazon


Here are some links to websites that might help you on your hunt for kora music, events and info.

The Kora Workshop’s own Youtube channel
Subscribe to receive updates on our favourite videos, playlists and our own uploads

Rhythm Passport
World music and global beats event listings; a great way to find kora music events.

Comprehensive database of gigs, events and shows and the ability to track your favourite band or music.