(ATHENS, N.Y.) – Soloist Sean Gaskell will perform traditional songs on the kora, a 21-string harp that he learned how to play throughout the course of multiple visits to its homeland in Gambia, West Africa, at the Athens Cultural Center on Friday, February 13, 2015, at 7pm.
Kora music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots. The kora is a very melodic and seemingly peaceful instrument, in contrast to its musical repertoire, full of songs recounting ancient stories of war and hardship.
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 the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh, both of Brikama, Gambia. He was first inspired to play by Kane Mathis, a kora player formerly based in Seattle who has led The Kora Band and The Sahel Band. Gaskell relocated from Seattle to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2014. He has been featured at a number of music festivals in the US, Gambia, and Senegal.
The suggested donation for the concert is $10, $8 for students and seniors. The Athens Cultural Center is a private not-for-profit arts organization and offers free year round art workshops for children and teens, exhibitions of works by contemporary artists, performances, music, seasonal craft workshops for families, dance, yoga, art workshops for adults and the Annual Athens Victorian Stroll. To learn more about the workshops and classes sponsored by the Athens Cultural Center visit Athens Cultural Center.