Friday, February 26, 2010
Kora: the 21-stringed West African harp
The sound of a kora resembles that of a harp, though when played in the traditional style, it bears a closer resemblance to flamenco and delta blues guitar techniques. The player uses only the thumb and index finger of both hands to pluck the strings in polyrhythmic patterns (using the remaining fingers to secure the instrument by holding the hand posts on either side of the strings).
Kora players have traditionally come from griot families (also from the Mandinka tribes) who are traditional historians, genealogists and storytellers who pass their skills on to their descendants.