The kora is an African string instrument, nicknamed the West-African harp. It is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Mandingo peoples of West Africa. It can be found in Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Traditionally, only those African men – musicians, poets, troubadours – who were born into one of the five principal West African Griot families are allowed to play this instrument. Sona Jobarteh is an offspring of one of the Griot families and has become the first female virtuoso of this unique instrument.