About the Kora Music Site

This website came into being because of the convergence of several disparate interests of the author. Your patience is requested, if you wish to to learn the explanation.

Some years ago I came across recordings of music and singing from North Africa including artists like Souad Massi, whose voice I found enchanting. After becoming familiar with music of some of the instruments from that area such as the Oud, I researched the subject and going further afield came across some music from Mali. In recent decades, several Malian artists had travelled to Europe and North America and became popular, including making recordings with Western artists, often playing the guitar. By this time, I had become familiar with the music and songs of Ali Farka Touré and many others. I learned the names of Mandinka instruments such as the ngoni, the bolon, the bala, often incorrectly referred to as the balafon, and the jembe, also known by the French spelling the djembé.  It was at this point that I first heard the Mandinka kora and was enthralled by its sounds.

As an aficionado of western classical music, I had always loved hearing the concert harp, but because of its size and relative difficulty to master, it is not sought after by those choosing to learn an instrument and is not often heard in concerts or even as a solo instrument. When I heard the kora, I fell in love with the harp-like sounds that emanated from it. I started collecting recordings and found that, although my favourite artist Toumani Diabaté is from Mali, it is an instrument played in many countries. In fact the father of Toumani Diabaté was originally from The Gambia. The kora has a history going back for hundreds of years to a time, when its creators, the Mandinka people, who are spread throughout western Africa, did not know the present borders.

Mali Map

My present activities are mostly involved in information technology with the Internet and website development taking up much of my time. The creation of a website like example.com requires the choice of a name for the domain and then the extension such as .com. In the past, top level domain extensions were mostly .com, .org .net and .edu. Later the countries with a lot of Internet activity started to use country extensions like .au, .ca, .uk and so on. All countries have such extensions allotted.

When registering a new domain for a site, we often find that popular names using the .com extension are often already registered. This has promoted the use of the local country extension or even newer ones like .biz and .info and many more. The cost of the registration and subsequent renewal is dependent on the extension used and can range from about $1 to more than $100. For non-profit websites and for people not wanting to pay continuously for renewal there are ways to set up a website, but the choice of name, facilities and control of the site are limited by the hosting company. Recently, I discovered some extensions that are available free, although with certain restrictions. Most of them are in Africa and among these was the extension .ml  allocated to Mali. In a flash, I thought here is a chance to make a website about Malian music and in particular the music of the Mandinka kora, hence:  kora-music.ml  and here we are. This site is dedicated primarily to Mali and its musicians and in particular to the Mandinka kora and its music.

Last updated: 2021-07-28 @ 14:29:00


Our Objectives

N’i ye diɲɛ yaala, n’i ma fɛn sɔrɔ, i na fɛn caman dɔn.

For those not familiar with the kora, we hope that this site will bring you some pleasure and tranquillity, especially if you are in a big, burgeoning city. Perhaps it has whetted your appetite and, if you liked what you heard, please spread the word.

For those, who are already aficionados of this delightful instrument, you may not have learned much more about the kora, because we have omitted a lot of technical details, which may be found on sites created by people who have hands-on experience. However, it may increase your awareness of how much it is now appreciated outside of Africa.

If you found errors or inaccuracies, or have comments or suggestions, we invite you to contact us.

Si quelqu'un du Mali préfère écrire en français, nous ferons de notre mieux pour répondre en conséquence.

With best wishes,

The Editor.


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