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Music of West Africa: Coming to libraryTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Sean Gaskell with a Kora

The North Platte Public Library will host a unique musical program at noon on July 6 as part of its Brown Bag Series. 

Sean Gaskell is returning to the library to share his musical talent on a rather unusual instrument, the Kora, a 21 string harp. 

This program is free, but the library requests you call the library at 535-8036, ext. 3310 to reserve a seat. Iced tea and coffee will be provided and attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch.

Sean Gaskell learned ot play the Kora through multiple visits to its homeland in Gambia, West Africa.

The music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots (Gree-ohs). The Kora is a melodic and a seemingly peaceful instrument, which is contrary to its musical repertoire. Many songs tell ancient stories of war and hardship, while others praise people of high political status and those who helped expand the Mande empire.

While the Kora is only 300 years old, some commonly played songs can be traced back 800 years, to the founding of the Mande empire.

Gaskell has studied extensively under instructors Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh, both of Brikama, Gambia. He was inspired to play by Kane Mathis, a Kora player formerly of Seattle who has led “The Kora Band” and “The Sahel Band.”

Gaskell relocated from Seattle to Asheville, N.C. in 2014. He has been featured at a number of music festivals in the U.S., Gambia and Senegal.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/27/2017
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