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It  is  usually  played   as  an accompaniment to Jeli singers and was first played in the Mandingue  royal  courts. According to Toumani Diabate (Famous Kora player), Djeli Madi Woulen Diabate was the 1st Kora player. The Kora which originally had 22 strings ended up with only 21. One string got removed in memory of Djeli Madi Woulen, leaving 1 empty leather ring on the pole as a tradition.
The Kora version for sale here originates from Guinea (west Africa).
You can tune your Kora with 4 different heptatonic tuning scales. The tunings used  depends on the country, region, or families that play the instrument. The most common tuning scale are:
Silaba (TomoraBa) original tuning, Tomora (Mesengo) originted in Gambia, Hardino originted in Gambia, and Sawta (lately derived from Hardino). (See diagram below for the original and most common tuning: Silaba)

The kora is the West African tunable harp or lute. A Jeli dedicated musical instrument.
The  base   of  the kora is a semi-circular  bowl made from a calabash (gourd). From this  base, a  straight   hard   wooden  neck  extends. The  calabash  acts  as  a   resonance  chamber,  with  its  opening covered   by   shaved calf  or  goatskin.  The   traditional kora  has  a  total  of twenty-one  nylon strings individually  attached  to  the  pole by means of leather rings.  Those strings are split in  two  rows, eleven   on  the  left  and  ten on  the right. Strings were originally made out of twisted antelope hide until around 1950's, while nylon strings only makes the tuning more resistant to temperature change.
The kora  is  tuned  by  moving the Self-blocking leather rings  up  or down the pole.  Between  the  calabash and its leather covering, is  a  frame made of three  sticks, two parallel   to  the  neck  and  one perpendicular to it. They  are held tightly in place by the leather and the edge of the gourd, hold up the  instrument, with its base resting  on  the  abdomen  of   the  player while playing. 

The Kora is held with the strings facing the  player, and is  played  with  both  thumbs  and  index fingers in tandem: Base on the left thumb, accompaniment (Kumbengo) with the right thumb, and solos (Birimintingo) by adding the index fingers - When played with the proper technique, all three can be done simultaneously on a single Kora by one player.


The origin of the kora can be traced to Gambia and Guinea-Bissau (West Africa), but has been widely used in the neighboring Guinea, Mali, and Senegal area for centuries.

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