#Article (Archive)

The Kora Festival

Nov 12, 2008, 5:03 AM

The National Council for Arts and Culture, together with the MaalisMusicSchool, will be organising the first ever Kora Festival in the country on 14-16 November this year. The aims of the festival include repositioning the kora instrument, celebrating kora talents in the country and discussing the future of the instrument in the competitive global environment. Our understanding of the festival is that our culture generally needs to be played up, because the moment we lose our culture, we will become defenceless as a people.

We would like to suggest that the organisers should start thinking of setting up kora clubs in the schools, at least up to the junior school level for a start. Our children need to be taught the beauty and magic of the musical instrument. And they should be encouraged to take pride in it. It could be a musical instrument o choice for them when they have school parties, especially during inter-house sports competitions. That way, they will help to preserve our culture with pride.

We hope that this festival will help to disabuse the minds of the participants of the erroneous impression that our traditional values are inferior. They become inferior when we stop taking pride in them. If we take pride in them, other people will do likewise. So the National Council for Arts and Culture should be commended for this initiative. They should ensure that the festival is held every year and even expanded to include other vital traditional values.

In the same vein, we would like to commend the organisers of the forthcoming Chancellor's Award that is meant to foster artistic creation in the country. We surmise that the rationale behind the Chancellor's Award is to assert our literary values, so that we are not all the time judged by external literary aesthetics. We have to have our own literary canons that project our artistic articulations in our own terms.

But then again, the awards should be done in such a way that the recipients are seen to be truly worthy. At this point in our development, we have to stop glorifying mediocrity. If we make excellent our hallmark in all that we do, the rest of the world will always respect us.