The kora : main components




 dot2  art of kora, web sites



I bought that kora in July 1997 to Mamadi Kouyate, a musicology brilliant student and a kora player, 20 years old. He was then the one of a disciple of M. Toumani DiabateToumani Diabate is the son of the legendary korafola Sidiki Diabate. Virtuoso korafolá, Toumani Diabate has much contributed to make known the kora all around the world and by his original meetings opened of new ways to the music. (Nago Seck)... Read more..

he kora is a hand-crafted cordophon from West Africa. A traditional kora is made of :


dot a soundtable made of big gourd (calabash) covered by a cowhide or goathide nailed with upholstery tracks. This soundtable is stuck off on the right of its convex part to create the soundhole (kora bunda).


dot a palissander's hardwood neck (falo) ringed by 21 leather bands or rings (nkonso) used for nailing the strings ;


dot an iron anchor ring (djoutene) fixed at the top of the neck and the soundtable's base ;


dot a horizontal hardwood rod (barambando) crossing the soundtable ;


dot 2 vertical hardwood grips (bulu kalamo) crossing the soundtable from part to part ;


dot a bridge (bato) stuck to the soundtable, fixed right at place only by strings pressure and resting on a piece of wood (bato fingingko), pressed against the very cow-skin and sometimes surrounded by a red tissue ;


dot 21 nylon strings (julu) of fishing line (in the past, of twisted leather) linked to the neck by the leather rings and fixed on two parallel rows set on a bridge (11 at left, 10 at right), which is perpendicular to the cow-skin soundtable.


A kora player is called korafolá (who is able to make the kora talk) - korafolálu, plural.


Genealogy of famous korafolálu

Nago Seck's review
Art of kora
Toumani Diabate
Yakouba Sissokho
Bakemba Susso
Ali Boulo Santo
Parts of the kora
Leather rings
Base anchor ring
A heptatonic instrument
Playing technics
Kora web sites
Musics web sites



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