Bringing new experiences to the Key Peninsula community, the Key Center Pierce County Library is featuring musician Sean Gaskell and music from the West African Kora.
Gaskell has been playing the Kora — a 21-stringed harp from West Africa — for more than a decade after watching a performance of one in a folk festival near his hometown of Olympia.
“I just absolutely fell in love with the instrument then and there and wanted to learn how to play,” he said.
I just absolutely fell in love with the instrument then and there and wanted to learn how to play.
Gaskell studied under Kane Mathis, the performer he first saw playing the Kora, for over a year. Mathis connected Gaskell with a musician who could sell him a Kora, having recently returned from West Africa with several.
In January 2008, Gaskell took his first trip to Gambia, spending three-and-a-half months studying under local teachers Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh in Brikama, Gambia. His second trip to Gambia was for six weeks in 2012. During both trips he spent six to ten hours a day in music lessons, learning traditional songs more than 300 years old.
For the most part most (reactions) are positive. People seem to really like it. The way that my library programs are structured is definitely more than a musical performance.
Gaskell started performing with the Kora in 2012 and switched to full-time performing last year. He now travels to share the music and history of the West African Kora.
“For the most part most (reactions) are positive. People seem to really like it,” he said. “The way that my library programs are structured is definitely more than a musical performance.”
Gaskell will be performing at 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Key Center Library, located at 8905 Key Peninsula Hwy. N. Event admission is free.
For more information, contact the Key Center Library at 253-549-3309.