The MM Mark 6 Kora
Bringing modern tools and materials to the construction of this
magical instrument, the Mandinka Magic Mark 6 kora, is the culmination
of 13 years of experimentation and continual refinement in engineering. The
result of this dedicated effort is an instrument with exceptional life
and presence. Mandinka Magic koras are unrivaled for evenness of tone, volume,
brightness and sustain. These features are the result of a rock solid
tension system, which makes them a pure joy to play. The
integration high strength/weight composite materials and super tough
alloy steel into the construction makes the Mandinka Magic kora stay
in tune for weeks or months at a time and allows rapid, concise and
stable tuning changes.
The sound bodies are imported
West African calabash, steel reinforced and covered with hand cleaned
Elk or domestic cow (#2 bleached or natural).
The tuning technology is old, simple, and precise. Tapered pegs turned to
+/- .005 inches allow substantially higher string tension than the konso
system. That additional tension translates into volume. My koras can
hold their own with a balaphon just fine, a bonus for all you ensemble
players. The tension system is constructed with carbon fiber composite
reinforcing materials in the barambando (cross bar) and the fallo
(neck).The dutunero (bottom anchor ring) is a very high strength and
toughness automotive steel alloy eye bolt hand forged and welded.
The instrument grade monofilament nylon string set is computer designed for clear
accurate sound reproduction over the entire frequency and dynamic range.
My standard 21 string instruments are designed to be tuned to F or
F#. Higher tonics will result in broken strings while lower tonics will
cause the strings to be more slack, resulting in less than optimal sound.
Since I custom build each instrument to fit the hands of the
owner/player, designing the tension system to a different pitch or
number of strings is also possible.
The MM Mark 6 is designed to be tuned in F or F# and carries
approximately 600 lbs of tension at that pitch.The MM Mark 6 kora has earned the praise of
many African musicians including Morikeba Kouyate, Toumani Diabate, Djimo Kouyate, Pappa Susso and others.
Impromptu performances on the MM Mark 6
Brief examples recorded at Jeff Bodony's work shop.
Although the recording quality is not the best, you can still hear the full bodied sound that the MM Mark 6 produces.
This is one resonant, acoustically loud kora with rock solid tuning and great sustain!
Toumani Diabate of Bamako, Mali just received his MM Mark 6 kora, and loves it!!
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