To all those who work, in their own way, towards peace, justice, equality, and love.
The Kora is a 21- or 22-stringed bridge-harp from West Africa. According to oral traditions, the kora originated with the Senegambian Mandinka of the Kabu Empire, which encompassed parts of present-day Guinea-Bissau, southern Senegal, and the Gambia. The strings of the kora are made of fishing line, and they resonate through a large, halved gourd stretched with a cow hide. Traditionally, the kora is played by Mandinka Jalis and Mande Jelis (“griots” in French) who are members of a special caste of society that work as musicians and oral historians. They are veritable walking libraries of information and history; artisans of speech and sound.
Recorded by Chris Johnson at The Cabin on Trice Atwater Road in Orange County, NC April 4-5, 2014. Mixed by Chris Johnson. Mastered by Jason Richmond. Packaging design and layout by Mallorie Keeley and Will. Original Artwork by Richard Garrison (richardgarrisonart.com
). Photo by Chris Johnson.
All songs © 2014 Will Ridenour. “Allah L'a Ke” and “Keme Bourama Kura” are original adaptations of traditional Mande kora pieces.
I would like to offer my deepest and heartfelt thanks to Bill, Susan, and Jon Ridenour, Chris Johnson, Jason Richmond, Jennifer Curtis, Richard Garrison, Yael Zivan, Mallorie Keeley, Adam Pyburn, Betsy Bevan, Austin McCall, Lia Parks, Jess Benson, Finn Enke, Kathy Peillot, Aliou Doumbia & Family, the Kaira Ba Family, and Mamadou Diabate. Special thanks to Rachel Juren & Robin Leftwich, Dan Mulcrone, Barbara Dua & Family, Sarah Howe, and Chris Kannenberg for help with producing this album.
I would like to acknowledge my profound gratitude to my teachers and mentors: Sandy Blocker, Diali Keba Cissokho, Youssoupha Cissokho, Dialy Mady Cissoko, Madya Diébaté, and Djeli Fily Sacko. One day I hope to give the same guidance and inspiration to others as you have given to me.