Sean Gaskell will give a performance and educational demonstration on the kora, an ancient 21-stringed harp from West Africa at the Jonathan Bourne Public Library on Wednesday, April 11, at 7 PM. The free performance is appropriate for all ages. Mr. Gaskell will play traditional songs that are the heart and soul of the kora’s musical repertoire in addition to some of his own personal compositions.
The kora is native to the Mande peoples who live within the countries of the Republic of The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. The music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as griots (gree-ohs).
The kora is a melodic and seemingly peaceful instrument, which is somewhat contrary to its musical repertoire. Many songs tell ancient stories of war and hardship, while others praise people of high political status and those who helped expand the Mande Empire.
While the kora is only 300 years old, some commonly played songs can be traced back 800 years to the Mande empire’s founding. Mr. Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh of Brikama, Gambia, and Kane Mathis of Brooklyn, New York. He has been featured at numerous festivals in the US, Gambia and Senegal.
Jonathan Bourne Public Library is at 19 Sandwich Road in Bourne.