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 Diabate.

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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