100-Word Fiction: ‘Kora’

Kora of calabash, the bottle gourd lute, cowskin resonator, bridge and strings. Kumbengo riffs and birimintingo runs, across the wires of the dancing desert harp. Griot storytellers of Mali’s Mandinka, keepers of memory, ancient people of Sundiate Keita.

Plucking notes that quiver into being, hardly heard above the arid air or the brushing of sand under shuffling feet. A music that is only just, only almost, only about. A music that is almost gone, almost no longer, almost there. A music that finds space – in melody, harmony, timbre, pitch – in the uniqueness of individual notes, to draw a happy tune.