24-stringed Casamance style kora. The triangular-shaped motifs on the resonator are symbols of the Konteh family, of which the maker and player Kausu Kouyaté is a member.
The harp lute, kora, was originally an instrument of griots or court bards, principally of the Mandinka people of Gambia and Senegal. In the 1970s the kora player Alhaji Bai Konteh (died 1986) toured the USA, and the instrument now has a worldwide audience. The Casamance kora is basically the 21-stringed kora with tomora tuning, as described in the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (ed. S.Sadie, London:Macmillan, 1984) vol 2. p.462, but with three extra strings. Koras were originally built with leather strings, with a tonic note around c, but since the introduction of nylon strings this has risen to f-g.