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Kora

  • Gregory Beyer (b.1973)
  • Sextet
  • 2015

Some ten years ago an old friend presented me with New Ancient Strings, a recording by the master Malian musicians Toumani Diabate and Ballake Sissoko. This recording is an exemplar of music for kora (a harp-like instrument from Mali). When I first heard the music, I became completely entranced and imagined that someday I would be able to provide the berimbau with such music. The experience was similar to the sensation I had when I first heard Pat Metheny playing Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint.” I could literally hear the berimbau inside of that sound world. The central ideas throughout Berimbau Sextet no. 1 are undeniably inspired by the sound of New Ancient Strings, which has been my constant musical companion for the past several months. In a manner of summing up my writing for this cycle that we now call MeiaMeia, toward the end of the work I offer one final homage to “Electric Counterpoint.” – Gregory Beyer

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