Top Jeli Kora Players

The art of the kora is an ancient one, and among the Manding people of Western Africa, the group of people designated to carry it on are called the Jeli, or griot. Jeli musicians are actually members of a musical caste, responsible generation after generation to hold on to their traditions. Because they are members of a caste, you'll often see the same last names popping up among Jeli musicians, and they are frequently related to each other.
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Mamadou Diabate

Mamadou Diabate is a well-known and Grammy-nominated Kora player originally from Mali, now living in New York State.
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Toumani Diabate

Toumani Diabate is Mamadou Diabate's cousin, and the younger Mamadou actually studied with Toumani during his teenage years. Toumani, from Mali, has recorded numerous times, and of late, is best known for his duet work with African blues singer and guitarist Ali Farka Touré, most notably on the album In the Heart of the Moon, which won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album.

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Mory Kanté

Mory Kanté is originally from Guinea, but studied the kora in Mali from a relatively young age. He is best known for his international hit song Yéké Yéké.
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Alhaji Bai Konté

Alhaji Bai Konté is something of a living legend in the kora world. From Gambia (which actually boasts a larger population of kora players than even Mali), Konté is considered a major source for students of the kora to learn from, as his knowledge of songs is encyclopedic and his form is flawless.
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Tata Dindin Jobarté

Tata Dindin Jobarté, from Gambia, is actually known best for the Afropop stylings of his band Salam, but he unplugged and made a slightly untraditional, but deeply rooted, album called Salam New Kora Music that garnered him huge amounts of attention as a kora player.