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With 22-Strings, the Kora Makes for a Sight - and Beautiful Music

Steve Evans

We’ve featured a lot of musicians and a lot of instruments over the years on Lake Effect. But until now, we’ve never had an instrument quite like the one Yaya Kambaye brought with him to the Lake Effect performance studio.

Kambaye is a native of Senegal, and something of a virtuoso on the kora. He says the 22-string instrument usually prompts some stares.

"Every time we play, people will be coming, asking us – ‘cause there’s always someone who never saw it before – that’s the thing about kora, because it just catch attention, like 'Wow, what is this?'" he says.

He recently played in Lake Effect's Studio C1, accompanied by Carl Nichols on the more well-known guitar. Our interview was engineered by Jon Strelecki. You can hear all three songs they played, in the supplemental audio section below.