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The Mande Kora: A West African System of Thought

Collected writings, essays, and interviews from 35 years of ethnic music research

By Margit Cronmueller Smith, MA
Tuebingen, Germany


Manuscript and Music

Mande KoraThis manuscript and related music Margit performed is provided for all to use under a Creative Commons license by the University of Maine at Augusta.

Manuscript  (opens as PDF document)»

Music »Margit Cronmuller Smith

UMA is indebted to Dr. Hadley Smith former Associate Professor at UMA, long time Economist with the US Agency for International Development in Africa and, during her studies and work in Africa, Margit’s husband. Hadley honors Margit by compiling and arranging completion of her manuscript and having her music converted from cassette tapes to mp3 files – all to benefit world music researchers worldwide. Margit’s Kora manuscript of 207 pages consists largely of ten years of her extensive professional interviews with many of West Africa’s leading Mande kora performers.

Margit died in her home country of Germany in 2004 from breast cancer. Her work and incredible talents are here today because of her many friends and Hadley Smith who orchestrated all of it.


Quote from Margit:

“I must admit, that during my apprenticeship, I was frequently discouraged, impatient, rough, hot tempered and lost. I actually damned the ‘shortcomings’ of the kora. Now I am wiser and acquired some of the sanun suman jeli qualities….and think that these “shortcomings” are assets of the instrument, because they keep away superficial musicians who look for instant success and are unwilling or incapable of honor (lanbe) and follow the traditional Manding way, or lit., siliaba, the big, meaning the correct and straight (no detours) way.”

University of Maine at Augusta