The Kora

The Kora is one of the most popular musical instruments associated with the work of griots outside of Africa. It is believed to have been created in the Senegambian region by the Mandinka People of the Kaabu Empire. The Empire of Kaabu (a.k.a Gaabu) included parts of the Gambia,the Casamance region of Southern Senegal, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.There are several legends associated with the how the first Kora came into existence. Almost all of these legends agree that a griot named Jali Madi Wuleng was the one who introduced it to the world.

The body of the kora is made of a large gourd which has been cut open and covered with hide. The neck pierces the body of the gourd and forms a tailpiece on which the Kora rests. On each side of the neck are two hand grips made of the same wood as the neck.

The strings are attached to the neck via several woven rawhide collars. The kora is played by the index finger and thumb of both hands: the remaining fingers are used to hold onto the handgrips.

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