Kumbengo Koras, founded by Michael Schraud in 2007, specializes entirely in the manufacture of professional grade koras. Mr Schraud has dedicated the last 35 years to the study and practice of lutherie, fine woodworking and wood turning, and has 25 years of experience in building fine African instruments.
The company is headquartered in Jaroso, Colorado, USA with a sister-workshop in Malika, Senegal.
The mission of Kumbengo Koras is to advance the art of kora music by providing professional kora players with beautiful sounding, well crafted and reliable instruments, ready for the great stages of the world.
Kumbengo Koras’ aim is to extend the capabilities of the instrument regarding volume, sustain, balance and overall quality of tone as well as to improve ease of tuning and playing. Kumbengo Koras honors the traditional aspects of this ancient instrument by using carefully sourced, original materials and by maintaining the classic forms, while utilizing contemporary lutherie techniques and newly developed solutions to the unique challenges the construction of this instrument presents.
Due to increased demand, the production of the commercial line of koras was moved to the Malika/Senegal facility in 2020, where a highly skilled team of luthiers fulfills orders for customers worldwide, employing the proven techniques and working with the same superior materials that have made Kumbengo Koras the gold standard for purity of sound, elegance and craftsmanship. Kumbengo Koras is proud to be part of this mutually rewarding partnership and we are glad to provide meaningful and fair economic opportunity for a sizeable and growing group of artisans in one of the centers of kora culture in Africa.
Kumbengo Koras is a founding member of the group Kora Aid, which serves as a vehicle to provide fast, effective emergency relief for members of the kora community, most recently in Senegal and Gambia during the initial phases of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Colorado shop continues to conduct research and development and supplies a small number of custom instruments to a select group of endorsing artists.