This is George Smerin a very talented musician based in Bristol, United Kingdom. He has recently been gaining lots of attention for a brilliant cover of “Mad World” played on an instrument not many of us have seen before!
George plays the 22-string West African harp, also known as a Kora. It is a string instrument used extensively in West Africa. A kora typically has 21 strings, which are played by plucking with the fingers. George uses a 22 string version of this instrument, we believe it has an extra bass string to the traditional 21-stringed instrument. You can watch his awesome performance in the video below.
George started playing the Spanish guitar when he was just 13 years old. Quickly picking up different styles, he became very interested in choro music from Brazil. Choro music is also known as “Chorinho”, an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre that originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro.
George started a band called “Smerin’s Anti-Social Club” who play an eclectic blend of different influences and energy that have allowed the band to become very successful in the UK’s festival circuit. After a trip to western Africa, George said he fell in love with the Mandinka People, a West African ethnic group primarily found in southern Mali. He loved their music, which is where he started playing the Kora.
While in Senegal and The Gambia, George was introduced to the native instrument called the “Kora”. He quickly picked it up and started playing, completely fascinated with the instrument. The West African instrument usually has 21 strings, but Senegal and The Gambia are where the 22 stringed version of the Kora originates from.
George isn’t just a talented musician. He is also a web developer focusing on user interface designs. When he is not coding up the next web platform you may end up using, he is playing melodic tunes on the Kora.
Also check out his website – https://www.smerin.com/