Round Rock Arts and the Round Rock Public Library present Sean Gaskell: Music of the West African Kora, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Library. Gaskell will give a performance and educational demonstration on the Kora, an ancient 21-stringed harp from West Africa. He will feature traditional songs that are the heart and soul of the Kora musical repertoire in addition to some of his own personal compositions. Admission is free to the public.
Sean Gaskell features traditional songs on the 21-stringed West African Kora. The Kora is native to the Mande peoples who live within the countries of 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 empires’ founding. Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh of Brikama, The Gambia, and Kane Mathis of Brooklyn, NY. Gaskell has been featured at numerous festivals in the US, Gambia, and Senegal.