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Kora: Music, Tradition & Craft - Workshops for Wiltshire Schools

Kora: Music, Tradition & Craft explores the kora, the 21 string West African harp. Master kora makers and players Aliou Gassama (Senegal) and Adam Doughty (UK), run workshops with schools in Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset

  May 9, 2014   admin

A range of workshops are on offer which can be tailored to the needs of your pupils. Kora: Music, Tradition & Craft is supported by a grant from Arts Council England, therefore, we can offer the workshops to schools at a cost of £200 (plus VAT) per day.

Key Stage 4

The study of African music is required for several exam boards’ GCSE music qualifications. This workshop can introduce students to West African musical traditions, genres, repertoire and cultural traditions. Adam and Aliou will also discuss the keys and tonality of the kora, rhythms, playing techniques and comparisons with western instruments. They’ll also work with students on group improvisation and incorporating the kora into an ensemble.

Key Stage 3

For KS3 the workshop can be tailored to whole classes or a specific group of children who are considering studying GCSE music. Workshops will explore West African musical traditions, genres, repertoire and cultural traditions as well as materials and techniques used in instrument making. The emphasis can either be on the music itself, learning the basics of a song played on the kora, combined with a vocal part, or on the science of sound and the construction of the instrument itself, with practical opportunities.

Key Stage 1 & 2

A short performance in assembly, also including a talk about how the instrument is made, followed by a 1 – 1½ hour whole class workshop. The workshop will introduce the music, cultural traditions and stories of Senegal, plus the how the instruments are made. All children will be able to try out playing the instrument and will be taught a traditional song that accompanies the kora.


For more information and to book a workshop contact Annie Menter at the WOMAD Foundation.

Tel: 01225 740654 or .

Background to the project

The schools workshops are one element of this project. Other activity includes:

  • Public performances and workshops in small-scale venues in Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset.
  • Aliou will make a kora, from start to finish, over 3 days at WOMAD Charlton Park Festival in July 2014 which can be observed by the public.

The aims of the project are to extend knowledge and engagement in West African music, particularly the kora. The project is supported by Arts Council England and WOMAD Festivals. Music Education Hubs Wiltshire Music Connect, Sound Foundation Somerset and Sound Storm (Bournemouth & Poole) are project partners, supporting the schools workshop development.

About the WOMAD Foundation

The WOMAD Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for cultural exchange and learning. We strive to bring the arts of different cultures to the widest possible audience by developing intercultural learning and participation projects in arts and music. The Foundation is a registered charity, established in 1984. Over the past 30 years our work has benefited 200,000 people, ranging from large-scale artist-led community performances overseas, to small projects in local schools. We work largely in the UK, but also undertake some international projects. In 2013 our work reached 1,545 children taking part in our projects, 191 adults benefiting from creative learning events and seminars and audiences of 6,300 people.