Alhaji Bai Konte

Kora Melodies from the Republic of the Gambia, West Africa

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Alhaji Bai Konte is an African music master able to fit a traditional instrument and sensibility into a contemporary framework. Konte plays the kora, a 21-stringed harp, with such rhythmic virtuosity and wide-ranging ability that he negates questions of language and adaptability. His 14-cut disc features everything from a 58-second fragment, "Tuning Kora," to a spectacular six-plus-minute triumph, "Cedo." During the disc, he demonstrates the properties, appeal, and charm of the kora, sometimes going through uptempo pieces that accent his speed, other times probing and exploring an ancient number in a manner that showcases his knowledge of and reverence for vintage African music.

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