The initiative, according to him, will go a long way in inspiring cultural renewal and inculcation in the young people which he lamented had been on the wane.
“If you assembled 100 kora players, in all probability, only one or two of them will be able to build a kora which is very sad. The knowledge of traditional kora making is vanishing in our society which we must all make efforts to stop. Therefore, the competition organised by the president as part of activities marking the 20th anniversary of July 22nd revolution could not have come at a better time. As Africans, we must be proud of our culture and protect and preserve it from the exploitation and distortion of foreigners. A lot of people from Europe and other parts of the world are coming here and learning kora-making. Then they go back, make koras and sell them back to us at expensive prices. Now we have electric koras being made but they are inferior to the traditional kora because the traditional kora sounds better. We must make sure that the traditional kora we inherited from our ancestors is not lost.”
Alagie Mbye, who stands to receive a royal sum of D200,000 for clinching the top spot in the competition, said that the president does not just have a passion for revival of African culture but has “profound” knowledge about it too.
“The president initiated the competition to bring us back to our roots but during the process he also made salient observations that demonstrated his deep knowledge of traditional musical instruments. When he was playing the balafong, he noticed that the last note failed to sound. He corrected that when playing, the Balanta balafong players do not sit side by side but this shows he knows musical instruments.”]]>