Biographical Information: David Gilden
David Gilden first heard the kora
in in 1978 at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. At the time, he was studying piano and jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating from Berklee in 1980, he turned to the kora, becoming the first American student of Gambian griots Dembo Konte and Malamini Jobarteh. Over the next 10 years, Gilden continued his studies, working from recordings and with the help of professor Roderic Knight of Oberlin college. In 1989, Gilden began making yearly winter excursions to West Africa to study kora. Initially, he visited the Gambia then in 1995 on his fifth of nine trips so far, he traveled to Bamako, Mali. Where he lived at the home master guitarist Djelimady Tounkara
. During his three month stay Gilden studied with kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, gave a concert ORTM (Malian national television) and honored that first kora player he heard in 1978, Batourou Sekou Kouyaté.
Dave has released several recordings that have been featured on NPR and college radio stations throughout North America. He has even been interviewed for Leo Sarkesian's popular Voice of America program Music Time in Africa (broadcast over short-wave radio). He has performed at New England area festivals, clubs and cultural events playing the kora with his band Cora Connection.