Telluride just went to school on the West African instrument the kora. A 21 stringed instrument played by virtuoso Toumani Diabate. He was joined onstage by banjo great Bela Fleck in an entertaining and enlightening set.
To my ears, the kora sounds very much like a mandolin with slight harpsichord tendencies on the high end, a bright guitar through the mid-range and the bass end sounds like a bass.
The instrument is approximately 700 years old, made of cowskin and strung with fishing line.
After playing several West African tunes the duo performed dueling banjos, er- dueling banjo/kora as an encore.
Toumani Diabate demonstrates how the kora is played
Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabate