Adventures with a kora, 2

Oops! I forgot to post this. It’s a bit out of date now:

Eventually I was forced to replace all 21 strings. Mixing the old and new strings simply did not work, as they were very different in thickness and in tension. It took about a week of what felt like fulltime tuning to get it to the point where the strings were all compatible lengths and tensions, so it could be tuned correctly. Each adjustment of one string would require detuning all the shorter strings, and tuning them back up again. The whole process started to feel like the Towers of Hanoi! (I’m exaggerating, of course, it was more like n^2 retunings rather than 2^n.)
The new strings are a lot heavier than the old ones, and so have a much higher tension. Several of the tail loops broke and I had to make new ones out of the old strings. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the strings are now tuned up to F major, and I’ve learnt a few tunes. Kelefa Ba is the one traditionally taught first to beginners, and I reckon I can give a fairly accurate rendition of the basic version by now. No frills yet. That comes later, I suppose. I’ve been working on some more difficult ones, Kuruntu Kelefa and Alla La Ke.


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