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June 15, 2019
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
510 N. Broadway
Billings, MT 59101
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Sean Gaskell Plays the West African Kora

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sean Gaskell will give a performance and educational demonstration on the kora, a 21 string harp that he learned to play over multiple trips to visit his teachers in the country of Gambia. Gaskell plays mainly traditional songs that were composed between 50-800 years ago in addition to some of his own songs. The kora is native to the Mandinka people living in the West African nations of Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Niger. Typically having 21-22 strings, the kora is played by oral historians known as Griots (pronounced GREE-OHS). While the kora may sound peaceful on the surface, many songs tell stories of war, hardship, empire expansion and also praise those who were in power during these times- especially political leaders. The program is part of the library's Cultural Literacy Series.