Arts & Culture
11:35 am
Mon January 28, 2013

With 22-Strings, the Kora Makes for a Sight - and Beautiful Music

We’ve featured a lot of musicians and a lot of instruments over the years on Lake Effect. But until now, we’ve never had an instrument quite like the one Yaya Kambaye brought with him to the Lake Effect performance studio.

A kora is a 22-string harp-lute used in traditional music in West Africa.
A kora is a 22-string harp-lute used in traditional music in West Africa.
Credit Steve Evans

Kambaye is a native of Senegal, and something of a virtuoso on the kora. He says the 22-string instrument usually prompts some stares.

"Every time we play, people will be coming, asking us – ‘cause there’s always someone who never saw it before – that’s the thing about kora, because it just catch attention, like 'Wow, what is this?'" he says.

He recently played in Lake Effect's Studio C1, accompanied by Carl Nichols on the more well-known guitar. Our interview was engineered by Jon Strelecki. You can hear all three songs they played, in the supplemental audio section below.