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Workshop on Kora and Balafon

My Magazine 2023/12
1 min
"Music Connects" is a famous phrase, and keeping this in mind, we at My Gambia have created a workshop on Kora and Balafon, two musical instruments and the pride and joy of the Mandinka tribe. This will allow you to connect with the locals for a unique musical experience.

Gambian traditional music will resonate with your heart in a beat and imprint some unforgettable melodies in your mind. Even when you are back home, the music will keep playing in your mind, calming your soul and drawing you back to the smiling coast!

The Kora, a 21-string musical instrument and a Gambian version of the harp, is believed to originate from The Gambia and was handed down from the spiritual world to one Korea Musa, a sojourner in the Gambia from Mali.

Conversely, the Balafon is the West African version of the xylophone dating back to the 12th century, from the Mali Empire. These instruments are believed to have been handed down from one generation of griots to the next of the Mandinka tribe in the Gambia.

Griots are West African storytellers, singers, musicians and oral historians. They train to excel as orators, lyricists and musicians.

This workshop is conducted by one of the multi-talented modern griots in The Gambia, who explores the traditional role of the griot with an understanding of how it fits into our contemporary time. He has the advantage of communicating with his participants in English for a smooth workshop.

The workshop will include learning the oral tradition, how to construct and the cultural significance of the two instruments. You will also learn the basic skills of playing these instruments, how to care for them, and explore some traditional songs that are accompanied by these two instruments.

No prior skills in music are required to take this workshop, as our friendly and smiling trainer(s) will patiently walk you through the process. This workshop will not only give you the experience of playing a unique traditional musical instrument, but it will also mean supporting a long-standing traditional office of the griots of the Mandinka tribe.

Are you interested in trying out new musical instruments? Contact us, and we will be happy to arrange a workshop where you can learn the Kora, the Balafon and other traditional musical instruments of  The Gambia! 



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