The Kora Workshop is a small company created and founded by Adam Doughty and Kath Pickering in 2007 with the aim of bringing the kora to as many people as possible. Since then, they’ve been establishing their reputation as kora specialists all over the world. They concentrate solely on the kora, and over the years they’ve developed a unique range of instruments and accessories, used by professional musicians and amateur players alike.
Their instruments can now be found in over 25 countries, they teach people on residential holidays in Europe and West Africa, and use Skype to reach students as far afield as Australia, China and the USA.
They spend around 6 months each year at their home in Kafountine, southern Senegal where they welcome kora students and guests. The rest of the year is spent in the UK and France making koras and teaching, either in their group workshops or individual students who visit.
Adam Doughty is a talented musician, a patient teacher and a highly skilled kora maker. Over 25 years of complete obsession with the kora has produced someone with a wealth of experience and skill. Adam initially taught himself on a konso kora using a dictaphone. He would record kora players he could persuade to help him, many of whom are now good friends, and by slowing down their recordings he worked out what to play. Adam often explains that what he wanted to create with The Kora Workshop was two-fold: the resource he wished he had access to when he first started learning, plus an increase in the awareness of and respect for one of West Africa’s major intellectual achievements, the development of the Kora.
Kath Pickering has a BA (Hons) in Creative Sound & Music and is the company’s executive, dealing with the website, publicity and all things administrative. She is also a slowly improving kora student, so well-qualified to help and sympathise with total beginners!
Between them they have a family of six children, many of whom are involved in the business from teaching at workshops, cooking for our guests and handling the administration. The Kora Workshop has become very much a family affair.