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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Traveling Musician Brings Unique Show Saturday, Jan. 12

Sean Gaskell & the Kora
Music from Africa played on a traditional African instrument will be featured during a free program at the Main Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar downtown, on Saturday, January 12.  Traveling musician Sean Gaskell will play two performances of traditional African music, first at 10:30AM, and again at 1:30PM in the library's second floor auditorium.

Gaskell features songs traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots (Gree-ohs) on the Kora, a 21 string harp that he learned how to play throughout the course of multiple visits to its homeland in Gambia, West Africa.  Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh, both of Brikama, Gambia.  He has been featured at a number of music festivals in the US, Gambia, and Senegal.  Gaskell is one of an estimated 50 players of the kora in the entire world.

His program features aspects of music, African culture and travel, and will be enjoyed by all ages.  "Encyclopedia Britannica" says "the Kora is the long-necked harp lute of the Malinke people of western Africa.  The instrument's body is composed of a long hardwood neck that passes through a calabash gourd resonator, itself covered by a leather soundboard.  Twenty-one leather or nylon strings are attached to the top of the neck with leather tuning rings.  The strings pass over a notched bridge (10 strings on one side of the bridge, 11 on the other) and are anchored to the bottom of the neck with a metal ring.  In performance the instrument rests on the ground in a vertical position, and the musician plays the instrument while seated.  He plucks the strings with the thumb and forefinger of each hand, while the remaining fingers hold two hand posts drilled through the top of the gourd.  Possessing a range of just over three octaves, the kora is tuned by moving the leather rings located at the top of the neck.

Admission is free, and no reservations are required to attend either program.

Release by Lori Grumet, Library Director

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