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March Feature: The Sound of the Kora

Throughout March, Global Village highlights one of Africa's most distinctive and enchanting instruments - the kora. We feature a wide range of recordings from legendary performers to emerging artists, traditional pieces to adventurous contemporary fusions that feature the kora.

This large, 21-string, harp-like instrument has a history that goes back several centuries. Played by the influential griots of many West African nations, including Mali, Senegal and the Gambia, the kora has found a new international audience with the growing interest in world and African music.

Such accomplished players as Toumani Diabate (who, along with his own projects and work with Ali Farka Toure, has performed with banjoist Bela Fleck, jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, and flamenco group Ketama) and Ballake Sissoko (who did the lovely and critically acclaimed Chamber Music album with French cellist Vincent Segal) have appeared in both traditional and contemporary settings, while artists from jazz and rock have found new inspiration and textures by incorporating the kora into their own work.


A live performance of a piece from the exquisite Chamber Music album from Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal:


The multi-national world-fusion World Kora Trio: