Yes, somehow I managed to wangle a kora lesson from the great Toumani Diabate himself (blogged about here).

Here’s how: a few weeks ago, my wife and I were invited to a soirée with the British Ambassador, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday (as you do!) As I walked into the large conference room at the hotel, I immediately recognized the kora guru himself, but did a double take. “That looks like Toumani Diabaté! It can’t be!” But it was: you British tax-payers, fret not; your money is being well spent!!! The evening’s entertainment included various singing griots and Toumani playing the kora (he even had a bash at “God save the Queen” but I prefered his rendition of the Malian National Anthem!)

Afterwards, a colleague encouraged me to go up and greet him, so I did (in my best Bambara). Turns out he speaks excellent English!

3 Comments posted on "Rob learns kora with ‘The Master’…"
Eddie on July 31st, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

By the looks of things he gave you Kora lessons and you taught him your famous head lean for photographs!

Well done, Rob. This is brill. Looking forward to your Kora MP3s.

Rob on August 2nd, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

Thanks Eddie (he’still working on the cheesy grin, though…)

Phil on August 12th, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

Great story. More interested in the fact that you appear to have a regular shirt and tie though.