A Feature African


The kora is a 21-string harp from the West African savannah, originally made entirely from local materials. It is so integral to the culture and history of the region that the top players are akin to royalty and the instrument itself is both a subject of myth and an object of musical mysticism. The central sound of the festivals and celebrations of Mali, Senegal, and Gambia, the kora has transcended its West African origins over the last 50 years, becoming a truly global sound, with artists as diverse as Herbie Hancock, Bjork, and Damon Albarn having fallen in love with its infinite possibilities. Kora Tales tells the definitive story of the legendary 21-stringed instrument, with one of its modern masters, Ballaké Sissoko, as our guide. Driven by the resonant rhythms of its two central subjects, this enchanting documentary is based on nearly half a century of research by co-director Lucy Durán.