David Gilden
United States
Influences: African , Balkan , West European
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Photo by: David Gilden
For over three decades David Gilden has been performing music on the majestic twenty-one string, kora, a harp-lute from West Africa. Gilden first heard the kora in 1978 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. At the time, he was studying piano and jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

After graduating from Berklee 1980, Gilden embarked on his kora studies, becoming the first American student of Gambian griots Dembo Konte and Malamini Jobarteh. Over the next 10 years, Gilden transcribed recordings and took lessons with touring African musicians and received help from ethnomusicology professor Roderic Knight of Oberlin College. In 1989, Gilden took his first journey to West Africa to study the kora and interact with local musicians. To date, he has traveled to the region a total of nine times. He has traveled extensively throughout The Gambia. In 1995 on his fifth of nine trips, he traveled to Bamako, Mali, where he lived at the home master guitarist Djelimady Tounkara. During this three-month stay, Gilden studied with kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate, gave a concert ORTM (Malian national television), and honored the first kora player he heard, back in 1978, Batourou Sekou Kouyaté.

Since relocating to Fort Worth, Texas in 2003, David Gilden has been introducing the kora to new audiences throughout the Metroplex.

In 2010 Gilden reissued on his exquisite recordings. Ancestral Voices, music that blur the boundaries of "world music" and "electronica" and Distant Strings & Jato (The Lion), double CD reissue of Dave's early acoustic folk kora recordings. Look for them on all streaming services, iTunes. If you want physical CD(s) please contact me!