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Episode 2 of 3

In his Dakar studio, craftsman Seydou Kane makes a kora from scratch. The kora is the principal instrument of the griot, a caste of west African musicians and oral historians.

Master kora-maker Seydou Kane crafts a new kora from scratch in his studio in downtown Dakar, Senegal. Dating back to the 13th century, the kora, also known as a west African lute or harp, has long been of sacred importance to the people of Senegal. Many believe it to be imbued with the essence of Allah, and that it has the power to ward off evil spirits.

The film follows Seydou as he gathers the natural materials he needs to make the kora: cow hide, a calabash gourd and rosewood. Seydou shows how making a kora involves several intricate processes and skills, from tightening the cowskin to carving wooden handles and tuning the strings. The instrument is the principal instrument of the griots, a caste of musicians, storytellers and oral historians who, a little like European minstrels, are cultural custodians of traditional myths and stories. They sing songs of royal legend and Islamic faith. With the kora complete, the film culminates in a performance of a traditional song by a local griot musician.

29 minutes


Role Contributor
Director Tom Harrad
Production Manager Clare Burns
Executive Producer Russell Barnes
Executive Producer Emma Cahusac
Production Company ClearStory Ltd


Director/Producer Tom Harrad on creating Handmade in Africa

Director/Producer Tom Harrad on creating Handmade in Africa

Tom on his fortune in being asked to film, direct and produce.