Learning to play the traditional Mandinka repertoire takes many hours of practice. Things need to be repeated many times, and the beauty of a well-made video tutorial is that it can be played, replayed and paused at will. It is infinitely patient and will always play the same thing, which for a experienced kora player is surprisngly hard to do, as they improvise and extemporise all the time; it is the nature of the music and the tradition.
Our tutorials are available as downloads from this page. Scroll down to buy them individually or a discounted bundle. It will take you to the Download shop and PayPal, but you do not need a PayPal account, just a debit/credit card. If you need to pay by any other means please contact us. If you have a very slow connection you may need to consider asking for it to be posted to you on a USB stick/key – contact Gary King.
Each one includes the tutorial itself, a full version of the song played by Adam in mp3 format and the introductory video below. The tutorials vary in length but all include the basic song with detailed step by step instruction, plus variations and breaks, enabling the kora student to develop the song further as their level of playing improves. You do NOT need to be able to read music as all tuition is verbal and with an animated graphic.
There are four tutorials currently available, Kelefa Ba, Jarabi, Bani Le, and Miniamba. This free introductory video explains the approach and is included with your download, as is a full version mp3 of the song, played by Adam.
For just over two years we have been working with Gary King of Website Video Promotions to produce this series of tutorials. Gary himself and his two sons are all learning to play, so we made a great team and the videos have been proven to work well. More songs are planned, with guest teachers and interviews.
Kelefa Ba (run time 28min20)
Traditionally this is the first song to be learned, and for a good reason. It introduces many of the basic concepts and techniques. It is also believed to be the first song that was actually composed on and for the kora.
This is an extract from the full MP3, it is not the tuition speed, don’t panic…
Jarabi (run time 32min30)
This song is about love, but this can be interpreted in several ways, and some people also describe it as being about addiction and passion.
MiniamBa (run time 25min20)
This popular song is about a great snake, the Python. There are very many versions of the story, from being a snake who helped a woman give birth when she went into labour whilst alone in the forest, to a snake that swallowed a whole village when in danger from drought/marauding armies and released them into a wonderful land of bounty, and to a yet another story about an evil snake.
Bani Le (run time 34min06)
This song is about the history of a series of wars between the Fulani and the Kaabu. It was chosen to be along the first four tutorials simply becase we like the tune!
Discounted Bundle of all four songs – with a free Tips and Techniques video.
Buy all four songs together and get them for £30.00 each and receive the first Tips and Techniques video free of charge.
The series replaces the original Tuition CD we created back in 2007 but that no longer works smoothly with most people’s computers. It served its purpose but we are delighted to have found a new format that will reach many more people. We have filmed more songs than are currently available here, but each song takes hours of editing and animation, so only four are ready for release. More are planned, with guest teachers and interviews.