Kumbengo Koras, founded by Michael Schraud in 2007, is a small lutherie workshop located in Jaroso, Colorado USA, specializing in the manufacture of professional grade koras, strings and accessories. Mr. Schraud has dedicated the last 35+ years to the study and practice of instrument making, fine woodworking and wood turning, and has 25+ years of experience in building fine African drums and harps.
The mission of Kumbengo Koras is to advance the art of kora by providing professional players with beautiful sounding, well crafted and reliable instruments, ready for the great stages of the world.
Our 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.
Michael has spent a lot of time in West-Africa, the homeland of the kora, and the ability to collaborate with many griots, musicians, artists, craftspeople and suppliers has proven invaluable and continues to be profoundly rewarding.
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.
As of early 2022, due to overwhelming demand, lack of suitable,reliable help and interruptions in the supply of materials plus certain realities regarding health and old age, Kumbengo Koras does not accept any further orders for new instruments.
The production of high quality kora strings and string sets is ongoing!