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Alhaji Bai Konte  
Kora Melodies from the Republic of the Gambia, West Africa
 CD cover, Alhaji Bai Konte, Kora Melodies from the Republic of the Gambia, West Africa

Documenting the late Gambian kora legend, Alhaji Bai Konte, this 72 minute CD captures the spirit and beauty of the Mandinka kora. The original LP features performances recorded at his home in Brikama. The CD reissue includes two previously unissued bonus tracks of Bai playing live in concert. Bai's musical style ranges from intimate to lively and has performed at folk festivals through out the world. If there were only one kora recording in your music collection, this would be an excellent choice.

Hear "Alla L'aa ke" played by Alhaji Bai Konte. [400K Mp3 Format]
Sound-byte courtesy and copyright © Rounder Records   all rights reserved

Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Dembo Konte & Kausu Kuyateh Kairaba Jabi

 kora jelis Dembo Konte and Kausu Kuyateh
Kausu Kuyateh (left)
Dembo Konte (right)
Kausu Kuyateh is one of first jelis or hereditary musicians to add extra bass strings to the kora. Born in Guinea-Bissau, which was part of the ancient Kabou empire, Kausu with his 24 string kora, is renowned for his masterful version of the musical style, called Yeyengo. This style is played in a kora tuning know as Tomora Ba. The tuning has a bluesy minor sound, similar to the western dorian mode.

On "Kairaba Jabi" jeli Kausu Kuyateh and Dembo Konte, play and sing with a passion that is unmatched! This compact disc includes all the tracks from their 1987 release. "Simbomba--The Great Hunter", which is now out of print.

Compact Disk $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Tata Dindin Jobarteh   Salam New Kora Music [Photo of Tata with Kora]

Born in 1965 in Brikama, The Gambia, the oldest son of Malamini Jobarteh, Ebrahima "Tata Dindin" Jobarteh started learning the kora when he was only 6 years old. Tata's own contemporary playing style is a version of Yenyengo. This kora style originated in the Kabou region, which is now kown as (Portuguese) Guinea Bissau. Many kora Jelis play this modern style along the costal areas of the Gambia and Senegal's Casamance region. The Yenyengo  style is typicaly played on a kora with 22 or more strings.

With his electric band Salam, he is a popular folk hero with the Gambian youth, singing about changes in traditional society, explaining the reasons for inoculations campaigns and the important work of the Red Cross.

Salam is Tata's debut acoustic recording for Network (Germany). His unique kora style accompanies his plaintive vocals, relaxing and introspective. A kora student remarked that he liked this CD because it was not overly flashy or to fast. He could hear what strings were being played clearly.

Compact Disk $17.00
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Pa Bobo Jobarteh & Kaira Trio 'Kaira Naata'

Pa Bobo is a fourth generation kora jali (musician). The son of Malamini Jobarteh and the younger brother of Tata Ding Ding Jobarteh. On this 1997 debut recording for Real World Select we find ourselves visiting with the younger Jobarteh family members and friends who make up the Kaira band. 'Kaira Naata' means peace has arrived, and it has! Enjoy an intimate duet played by Pa on kora with his friend Haruuna Jassy playing the percussive wooden balaphone in a fisherman's hut at the beach side village of Gunjur. Its late afternoon as the sun is starting to set, vocalists Siffia Jobarteh, Pa's older sister sings with the Kaira band, entertaining at a kulliyoo--naming ceremony. Even though Kaira means peace, this high-energy band has their PA system cranked up loud and is playing music for dancing and partying. Other tracks include mora peaceful tracks with solo kora. Recorded on location in The Gambia, this compact disc captures the authentic feeling of the local popular Manding music.

Pa Bobo was featured in Gambian pitfalls of kora politics (9/28/06 BBC News)

Compact Disc $15.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Jali Nyama Suso "L'art de la kora"

 Jali Nyama Suso Born Mohamadu Lamin Suso, Jali Nyama is acknowledged as one of the great kora players of this century. His legacy lives on with this historic recording. Five of the 12 pieces featured on "L'art de la kora" were recorded at the University of Washington, where Suso taught in 1971. He was the first to teach the kora outside of Africa! Originally released by Ocora back in 1972 and later by Tangent on LP. This CD reissue includes additional music recorded in 1970 in the Gambia by professor Roderic Knight.

This long playing (69 minutes) compact disc contains rare performances of the late Jali Nyama's wonderful kora playing and soulful singing. Included is a highly detailed booklet in English, French and German.
Highly recommended!

Compact Disc $17.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Yan Kuba Kora Music from the Gambia

This is a true gem for collectors of kora music. A contemporary 48 minute collection of intimate performances by Gambian jali-ba, Yan Kuba Saho and his wife, Bintu Suso. With his masterful kora accompaniment filled upbeat funky bass lines and cascading arpeggios Saho sings about history, friends, patrons and even his late uncle and kora teacher Faal Suso. Singing backup jali-musoo Bintu taps rhythmically on the back of the kora's calabash body.

Compact Disc $14.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order Listen to his unique kora style on these two samples:Fall SusoAmadu Darobe

Saikou Jobarteh "At Home"
This is a rare recording of kora jeli, Saikou Jobarteh. Recorded direct to DAT (Digital audio tape) at his home in the Gambia. Available on cassette only -- 90 minutes of great music traditional Mandinka kora music.

Cassette Special price: $11 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Ballaké Sissoko "Tomora"

 Ballaké Sissoko, Tomora CD Son of Djelimady Sissoko, great master of the kora, Ballaké Sissoko is one of the best kora players of the new generation. Ten fingers for twenty one strings, and magic takes place, surely, calmly, enlacing us in a suave, crystalline sonority. Sissoko has played with the prestigious Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and accompanied by many female Malian singers. He came to fame by performing with Toumani Diabaté and Taj Mahal. Ballaké Sissoko is not only an incredible instrumentalist; he is also a talented composer and Tomora highlights both of these skills. The album is in three parts. One section focuses on the kora alone, including a duet with Toumani Diabaté. The second section features a trio of kora, n’goni and balafon and the third one features the voices of Alboulkadri Barry and Rokia Traoré.

"You get the impression that the people involved felt they had something to prove, that they could not take anything for granted. There is much on Ballaké's record to reward adventurers." - The Observer (UK)

Ballaké's use of pentatonic riffs makes this a unique kora recording....(D.G.)

Tomora Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Also available 'Dejli'
Released in 2001, Dejli features Sissoko' own Manding ensemble, featuring Fassely Diabaté (son of balophone 'maestro' Kélétigui Diabaté) Adama Tounkara (nephew of guitar giant Djelimady Tounkara) on ngoni and Aboubacar Dembélé playing the rarely heard four-string bolon, (essentially a rhythmical bass.) Sissoko's wife, Mama Drabe sings on three of the eleven tracks.

Dejli Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order
 Toumani Diabaté Toumani Diabaté Mali's kora prince

Toumani Diabaté has been called the Malian prince of kora. Born on August 10, 1965, the son of the late Sidiki Dibiaté, Toumani grew up in Mali's capital city, Bamako where he refined his amazing kora style and established his longtime musical relationship with Basseko Kouyate (ngoni). On "Kaira," Toumani's 1988 debut solo kora recording, his super articulate playing sounded liked two kora players at times. In fact the back of the of compact disc states "this recording was made entirely live and unaccompanied -- there is no double-tracking." During the 90's while Cora Connection's Dave Gilden was traveling in the Gambia many young kora players talked about this one recording.

Just released this past February (2010) is the 'Ali and Toumani', the successor to the Grammy winning 'In the Heart of the Moon.' To quote Toumani Diabate, "I believe this album to be stronger and wiser, better than 'In The Heart'", and I concure. The sessions include tracks with guest artists include Buena Vista Social Club bassist Orlando 'Cachaíto' López and Vieux Farka Touré contributing vocals and percussion. Producer Nick Gold and engineer Jerry Boys captured some amazing performances over three afternoons at Livingston Studios, London, back in 2005.

'In the Heart of the Moon', was the recent recipient of 'Best Traditional World Music Album', in the 48th Annual Grammy® Awards 2005, Toumani Diabaté Ali Farka Touré present a low key performance, more of a jam session in reality. With 'African blues man' Ali Farka Touré haling from the north of Mali and Toumani Diabaté who's Mande roots extend back to Gambia, this recording is a charming introduction to these artists. Critical listeners will want to check out their complete discography to experience representative recordings that capture the essence of these artists rich diverse styles. Read Banning Eyre's review at Afropop Worldwide.

The solo recording Manding Variations from this mature kora virtuoso displays his adventurous instrumental interpretations of both new and old classic Manding music repertoire. Classical music fans will easily enjoy this world music recording as much hard-core African kora music collectors.

On "New Ancient Strings" Toumani is joined by his longtime Bamako neighbor, kora player Djelimoussa Ballake (pronounced-- Bell-a-kay) Sissoko, for a series of duets that explore musical interplay and counterpoint. Recorded at Palais de Congres, in Bamako, Mali, (September 22, 1997) this breathtakingly beautiful recording is perfect for yoga practice or if you are searching for relaxing music to bliss-out with! Their fathers, Sidiki Diabaté, and Djelimadi Sissoko were on the orginal recording "Premiere Anthologie De La Musique Malienne, Chords Anciennes" recording.

"...all kinds of new possibilities unfold unexpectedly. This creativity makes New Ancient Strings a particularly commendable kora recording."
Lucy Duran

Joining Toumani on Dejlika, (named after his young daughter) are long time musical collborators, Ba Sékou Kouyaté playing the 4 string banjo like ngoni and Keletigui Diabaté on the twenty one wooden key balaphones (African xylophone). Keletigui is one of Mali's first musicians to blend jazz and traditional folk music, playing two balaphones tuned a half step apart so that he can have access to the all the notes, like a piano.

With a unique mix Manding and Jazz, MALIcool presents Toumani's Bamako ensemble joined by American trombonist Roswell Rudd. "MALIcool swings with a snappy, sub-Saharan feel and adds credence to that old Latin phrase, "out of Africa, always something new." - All About Jazz (read the complete review)

Coming from another direction, veteran blues innovator Taj Mahal traces the roots of American blues back to Africa on "Kulanjan", which features six top Malian singers and musicians, including Toumani.

Tittles available on compact discs

 new recording, Manding Variations 'Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté "Ali and Toumani"
'Manding Variations' Toumani Diabaté
'In the Heart of the Moon' Toumani Diabaté Ali Farka Touré
Kaira — the classic kora solo recording! ORDER QUANTITY $12.00
New Ancient Strings — tranquil & meditative kora duets with Djelimoussa "Ballake" Sissoko ORDER QUANTITY $12.00
Dejlika — contemporary African chamber music trio ORDER QUANTITY $12.00
Malicool— Manding swing with jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd ORDER QUANTITY $16.00
Kulanjan — featuring Toumani Diabaté & Taj Mahal ORDER QUANTITY $12.00

Find out what is currently happening with Toumani, visit his page at World Circuit (click 'artists'), don't miss the cool photo gallery! You can also check out Toumani's mySpace page.

Discover the grand tradition of the kora with: Music of Mali "Cordes Anciennes"

Originally issued on L.P. as "Premiere Anthologie De La Musique Malienne, Chords Anciennes." This prodigious and now out of print recording documented the kora artistry of the elder generation of Malian kora masters. Tastefully remastered for CD, with great kora duet performances by, Djelimady Sissoko with Sidiki Diabaté, and M'fa Diabaté with Batourou Sekou Kouyaté. This is a required recording for any serious student or collector of kora music!

Compact Disc $16 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

 Sidiki Diabate and Batourou Sekou Kouyate
Sidiki Diabaté & Djelimady Sissoko

Music from Mali Kora King: Mamadou Diabaté

 Mamadou Diabate Courage CD

Released in 2011, Courage is Mamadou Diabaté fifth album, carving out a new directions in Manding music. A departure from the traditional melodies on Douga Mansa, these contemporary pieces highlight Mamadou's versatility as a composer and affirm his place as one of the finest kora players living in the world today. Recorded in 2009 at Studio Bogolan in Bamako, Mali, Courage features an ensemble of follow Malian musicians, Abou Sissoko (ngoni), Lansana Fode Diabaté (balaphon), Adama Diarra (calabash/djembe) and his American bass player Noah Jarrett.

Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order Douga Mansa World Village 2008

Douga Mansa is Mamadou's virtuosic solo kora recording. Fast and furious, a total display of awesome kora playing. If Toumani Diabate Manding Variations put you to sleep, this will wake you up. If you were a fan fusion guitar gods like John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell and are looking for the parallel in the world of kora performance, look no further then Douga Mansa.

2009 Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album
Songlines magazine U.K. Top of the World albums, issue #56 - Nov/Dec 2008

Whether interpreting traditions or creating on his own, Mamadou plays with a highly individual voice. His technique is crisp and sprightly, loaded with ideas.
Banning Eyre /

Compact Disc $17.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Sample tracks from Douga Mansa and his other recordings at


Heritage World Village 2006

Released in Fall of 2006, 'Heritage' is Mamadou's ensemble recording featuring his magnificent kora playing accompanied by Djikoryam Mory Kante, from Guinea. on acoustic guitar, Bala Kouyaté, balophone, Mbaye Kouyaté, calabash/talking drum and Noah Jarrett on acoustic bass.

On Heritage, Mamadou Diabate honors the responsibilities of his griot upbringing by featuring music drawn from the august canon of the Mande jeli. At the same time, the performances here, and Mamadou’s career in general, also highlight the amazing flexibility and adaptability of this courtly music tradition. Diabate performs with his own instrumental group - a versatile band that includes balafonist Bala Kouyaté, Baye Kouyaté on calabash and talking drum, American jazz musician Noah Jarrett on bass, with a special guest cameo from the Guinean guitarist Djikorya Mory Kante. In their fiery interactions and seamless chemistry, we discover the results of three years of constant performance. Mande music is almost always centered around a singer, so the decision to keep this work all instrumental and let the musicians do the talking is unusual. This music is not typically accompanied by calabash or talking drum, so the percussive aspect of the group is also innovative. But the deepest innovation comes in the compositions and arrangements themselves.

Compact Disc $18.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order


Behmanka World Village 2005

Released in in the summer 2005, this sublime 49 minute solo recording leaves no doubt that he is one of finest kora players living today. If your looking for a kora CD that is mellow and engaging this would be a great choice.

Compact Disc $18.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order


Tunga cd cover Released in 2000, this debut CD from Malian kora musician Mamadou Diabaté, took the U.S. world music scene by storm. Tunga means "adventure," on this recording Mamadou is joined by his colleagues, Fuseini Kouyaté, ngoni, Famoro Diabaté, balafon, Fode Seydou Bangoura, djembe, and American bassist Ira Coleman. Guest vocalist Abdoulaye Diabaté makes an appearance on two tracks.

Mp3 samples from Tunga

"This debut from a young Malian now living in the US puts all kora players on notice with its vitality, scope, and shimmering musicianship." Banning Eyre, The Boston Phoenix. Read reviewers comments and Mamadou Diabaté's profile

Tunga Compact Disc $15.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Badenya -- Manden Jaliya in New York City

This 2002 Smithsonian/Folkways compilation features 5 tracks of Mamadou Diabaté's current troupe "Super Manding" plus additional tracks contributed by other outstanding west African musicians that preform and teach the greater New York area.

 Badenya -- Manden Jaliya in New York City
Read a review of Badenya
Badenya Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

[CD Cover] Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society

Foday Musa Suso traces his ancestry back through the generations to Jalimadi Wolengo Suso, widely believed to be the first kora player. Born in the Gambia, Suso moved to America in 1977 making Chicago his new residence. There with the help of American musicians he founded the Mandingo Griot Society. During his first year in the States Suso recorded two albums of traditional kora music for Lyrichord and Folkways. With Mandingo Griot Society's second release ("Mighty Rhythm") the band toured Europe for two years. suso went on to work with Herbie Hancock and bassist &producer Bill Laswell to create theme music for The 1984 Olympic Games. Hancock later invited Suso to play on the "Rocket It" album and to tour with his band. Suso is featured on the Philip Glass film soundtrack "Powaqattsi" and has composed music for the Kronos Quartet. Collaborating with Bill Laswel, Suso has produced a number of recordings featuring not only the Manding and Fula musical traditions (as heard on "Ancient Heart") but venturing into electro-kora funk territory with the release of "New World Power" and "Possession African Dub." Their latest offering "Jali Kunda" takes you on a musical journey from New York to West Africa. Read more about Jali Kunda

The Mandingo Griot Society was active in the late seventies and early eighties. Playing a unique musical style that is best described as a fusion of Manding traditional and modern American jazz music. This was the Mandingo Griot Society's 1978 debut recording, produced by percussionist Adam Rudolph.

Mandingo Griot Society Compact Disc $16.00 ORDER QUANTITY
Jali Kunda (book & amp CD) Special $17.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

 Kora Revolution Kaouding Cissoko "Kora Revolution"

Kaouding Cissoko is the kora player with Senegalese vocalist Baab Maal's band. He has recorded with Afro-Celt Sound System, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ernest Ranglin. On his first recording as a leader, "Kora Revolution" features his powerful vocals along side his melodic kora struming. A mixture of jazz and modern day Manding, Kaouding's "Kora Revolution" ensemble features female vocals, tama (talking drum), djembe, guitar, acoustic & electric bass and a special guest Baaba Maal.

Kora Revolution Compact Disc $15.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

Also available from Peter Gabriel's Real World record label: Night Song

This 1996 release produced by Canadian guitarist Michael Brook blends the singing of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (considered one of the greatest Qawwals vocalists in the word) the Brook's techno artistry and studio savvy. Brook features Kaouding Cissoko's kora playing on the opening track of this CD. If you are looking for a CD that bridges Trance / Trip Hop and World styles, this is it, a rare hidden gem. Brook has also collaborated with Brian Eno and has released recordings on Eno's Opal label.

Night Song Compact Disc $15.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

N'der Fouta Tooro Vol. 1 CD

Mansour Seck

Mansour's relationship with Baaba goes beyond just a music colleague. They are lifelong friends and Mansour has been a leading figure Baaba Maal's band in Dande Lenon, 'The People's Voice.'

Both Seck and Maal come from the same town in northern Senegal, Podor. However, Baaba Maal was born into the caste of fisherman. Mansour Seck was born into the caste of the griot, and this unique mixture has been fruitful for both men in terms of musical exploration.

"He and I have two different roles - he is a guitarist and I am a singer. So when we work together, we complement each other." explains Senegalese super star Baaba Maal.

N'der Fouta Tooro Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Two great unpluged sets of music from Senegal, featuring Seck's killer vocals with guitar, kora, xalam (4-string lute, pronounced halam) and sabar drums. Senegales vocal star Baaba Maal makes a guest apperance.

$18.00 per compact disc: ORDER VOL 1. QUANTITY
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Yelayo, the latest from this smoking Senegalese singer. Dark and mysterious sounding xalam lines and bright kora counterpoint blend effortlessly with Seck's melodic acoustic guitar phrasing. Female background vocals replace the sabar drums heard on his earlier releases.

Compact Disk $18.00 ORDER QUANTITY CheckOut click here to complete order

If there's something special your looking for let us know we will try to find it for you.
Music from Cora Connection's own webmaster David Gilden

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