Mandinka music on campus today

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

Experience West-African Mandinka music with Trio Abaraka at Highline this afternoon.

The band will play a free concert in Building 7 at 12:15 p.m.

This show is open to Highline students and the community.

Abaraka means "let it be blessed" in Mandinka.

"Originally our band name was the Abaraka Trio, then we decided to get a little fancy with it and switch the words around," said Chet Corpt, kora player and singer in Trio Abaraka.

The kora is a 21-string lute-bridge harp used commonly in West Africa.

Harps are not a common instrument to hear, he said.

One of the songs they will perform is more than 700 years old.

"The tunes are all oral. When I was in West Africa I never saw anyone write anything down so it's incredible how old some of them are," Corpt said.

Along with Corpt, Brady Kish plays the bass, and percussionist Sam Esecson plays tvhe drums.

One of the founding members, percussionist Thione Diop, will join them for this concert.

"Thione didn't really feel confident playing by himself, but we added Esecson and then he was much more confident since he had something to play off of," Corpt said.

The group plays music based on traditional Mandinka songs, but Corpt has the freedom to arrange them to match his vision.

"When you play this kind of music, you get a few notes for the melody from a teacher and then you improvise as you go," said Corpt.

One of the difficulties the group has faced is finding venues to play.

However, "the sense that we're always improving keeps us going," he said.

Corpt will be singing three or four of the songs the band will perform today.

Trio Ababraka includes a large amount of percussion in their music.

Their first album, Trio Abraka, was released June 7, 2017.

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