A look into the history of the Kora in Folk music and African American music

The Kora is an instrument  used within Jali families of the Mande people along with the Malinke people in West Africa that date back to the 1700s. 


It consists of 21 strings that produce a harp like sound placing it in the calabash harp family. Because of its placement of strings, players are able to play with both hands and create melody and rhythm simultaneously 

           How It’s Done

In this video you will see how the instrument is played along with where the Kora shows up in other genres of music such as reggae, techno and punk music. Pay attention to how the artists explains how he pushes for more modernized songs using the Kora to highlight the instruments versatility.

History of the Kora

The Kora was originally made by a West African ethnic group called Madinka. It was traditionally associated with royalty and ruling classes amongst the people in the Gambia River, it was also commonly played by men in songs that were about high social classes and songs in honour of patrons. 

On the left hand side the video showcases a more traditional way for playing the Kora as its been play for centuries versus the video on the right hand side where you see its corporation into more modern day music. 

Overall the Kora was an culture rich instrument that had roots in high class citizens and the Gambia River. The instrument itself represents so many aspects of music in African American folklore and history.

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