Trio Abaraka


"Abaraka" in Mandinka means "let it be blessed" and is pronounced 'a-Baraka'.

The Concept:

Utilizing kora, voice, bass, hand percussion, and drumset, Trio Abaraka plays its own arrangements of West African Mandinka music, based on traditional kora pieces. This requires a significant amount of creative interpretation, as there are no written standardized versions of these songs. A successfull performance by our group requires knowledge of the songs' story, a sense of the emotional tone, an arrangement that enhances rhythmic flow, and finally, the ability to improvise, both into the group and as a featured solo.

The Musicians:

Chet Corpt began his study of kora with Kane Mathis in Seattle, and then followed that teacher's advice to travel to Brikama, Gambia in West Africa, home of his teacher, the great kora master Malamini Jobarteh. There, in Jobarteh Kunda, often at night, amidst the sound of crickets. he heard the beauty of traditional kora, often played by his other African mentor, Moriba Kuyateh.  After two trips, '04 and '07, Chet continued his study of kora in Seattle, playing professionally in various venues.

Bassist Brady Kish is a Michigan-born musician who cut his teeth in New Orleans prior to landing in Seattle 15 years ago. He has spent his time in this city performing as an in-demand sideman with successful artists from an eclectic range of musical styles. Projects include The Kora Band, Thione Diop's Afro Groove, and Chicharra Tango. Kish has also stepped into the composer/bandleader role, fronting his own project called Hereward for over 5 years, which brings together his varied experiences and influences into a unique musical vision.

Drummer/percussionist Sam Esecson began studying music at an early age in California before moving to the Pacific Northwest to be part of Seattle's vibrant and eclectic music scene.  His passion for learning different musical styles and percussion instruments has taken him on educational trips to Brazil, Mexico, and Spain.  For the last decade, he has been touring across North America and Europe with various bands including The Paperboys, Maracuja, Polyrhythmics, The Gin Joints, Eli Rosenblatt, Locarno, and more.  In addition to performing, Sam maintains a busy teaching schedule at his home studio. 

Founding member and frequent special guest, Thione Diop, is a percussionist from Senegal, West Africa, and is widely recognized for his powerfully expressive Djembe performances. A griot himself, Diop is descended from an ancestral line of drummers in Senegal, and is a master of the djembe, sabar, tama, and djun djun. He is also a Music Teacher at The University of Washington in Ethnomusicology.



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Trio Abaraka

by Trio Abaraka