Musician Sean Gaskell will give three performances and educational demonstrations on the Kora, an ancient 21-stringed harp from West Africa, at Palm Beach County libraries next week.
Gaskell will be at the Wellington branch library on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free to the public.
Other performances will be at the Glades Road branch in Boca Raton on Monday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. and the West Boynton branch on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
The Kora is native to the Mande peoples who live within the countries of Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. The music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots.
While the Kora is only 300 years old, some commonly played songs can be traced back 800 years. 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.
Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh of Brikama in the Gambia, and Kane Mathis of Brooklyn, N.Y. Gaskell has been featured at numerous festivals in the United States and Africa. He will feature traditional songs that are the heart and soul of the Kora’s musical repertoire, in addition to some of his own personal compositions.
The Wellington library is located at 1951 Royal Fern Drive. For more info., call (561) 790-6070.
ABOVE: Musician Sean Gaskell with the West African Kora.