Here we have a small selection of resources that, whilst not exhaustive, are certainly a great way to discover kora music and its history. We’ll be adding to this page regularly so do check in now and then for any new updates. Whilst you’re on the hunt for kora music, make sure you have a look at our Musician Directory which has a handful of notable and famous kora players with links to their websites. If you have any recommendations for either of these pages let us know and we’ll add it to our site for all other kora lovers to benefit from.
Here are some links to websites that might help you on your hunt for kora music, events and info.
The Kora Workshop’s own Youtube channel
Subscribe to receive updates on our favourite videos, playlists and our own uploads
World music and global beats event listings; a great way to find kora music events.
Comprehensive database of gigs, events and shows and the ability to track your favourite band or music
Africa Book Centre
Huge online catalogue and resource for African literature, culture and music. This link will take you directly to the West African section
Here is a list of particularly good albums, available here from Amazon. Apart from being beautiful examples of the range of kora music, they have been chosen as essential listening for those learning to play the kora.
Jali Sherrifo Konteh
Djeli Moussa Diawara and Djeli Moussa Ballaké Sissoko
In the Heart of the Moon
Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate
Konte, Kuyateh and Suso
Konte and Kuyateh
Kevin Brown and Moussa Kouyaté
Kora Melodies: Music from Gambia, West Africa
Alhaji Bai Konte
Kora Music from The Gambia
Foday Musa Suso
Mali – Ancient Strings
Mali – Kora and Balafon
New Ancient Strings
Toumani Diabate with Ballake Sissoko
Tabara Ghambian Kora Music
Amadu Bansang Jordateh
The Art And Soul Of The Mande Griots Vol.2
The Silimbo Passage
If you’d like to know more about the culture that the kora originates from here are some books that you may find useful and interesting. They make great presents for kora-loving friends.
Culture & Customs of Senegal
In this study of contemporary Senegalese life, readers will learn how daily lifestyles are celebrated through both religious and secular customs. Though we think it concentrates on life in the north, rather than all of Senegal, it gives some useful insights.
Eric S. Ross (2008)
Griots and Griottes
Masters of Words and Music (African Expressive Cultures)
Thomas A. Hale (2007)
Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation, and Caste in Mande
Hoffman’s discerning transcription and examination of the speeches not only reveals the oratorical skills of griots, but their skill in using history, metaphor, religion, proverbs, and praise to mend a community that had been torn apart by war.
Barbara Hoffman (2001)
In Griot Time
An American Guitarist in Mali Paperback
Banning Eyre (2002)
Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)
Eric Charry (2000)
Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson (with CD)
Ryan Thomas Skinner (2008)
The Rough Guide to West Africa
Travels in the Interior of Africa
In 1795 Mungo Park, a twenty-four year old Scottish surgeon, set out from the Gambia to trace the course of the Niger, a river of which Europeans had no first-hand knowledge.
Mungo Park (2002)
And some films:
Feature film, released at Cannes Film Festival surrounding a trial in Bamako. Deals with corruption and globalisation in relation to the current financial state of many poverty-stricken African countries.
La Pirogue (2012)
The moving story of a group of Senegalese men who set off for Europe on a simple fishing boat, hoping for a better life. A powerful depiction of a story that is relevant worldwide.
French – Subtitled
Documentary film based on the album of the same name. Mandekalou recounts the CD recording of Mandinka traditional music by following the Western African griot’s history.