June 05, 2015
So what is “Kora” and why are we telling you about it? Kora is a type of harp from West Africa with a tranquil lute-like sound that many find beautiful and oddly mesmerizing. It’s now a new test Beta channel with 75 minutes of uniquely recorded tracks from Master Kora Musician John Hughes.
The Kora Channel was recorded at Focus@Will’s Marina Del Rey Studios and re-engineered by our Chief Sound Scientist and Co-Founder John Vitale, who explained how the new channel came about and why it represents a new direction for adding music to our Focus@Will Audio library.
The Kora instrument is played using an active strumming technique that almost resembles flamenco or delta blues guitar player. It was this technique coupled with the ethereal quality of the sound, that captured founder Will Henshall when he saw master musician John Hughes playing at a Los Angeles street fair.
Co-Founder John Vitale admitted he was a little “skeptical” when he first heard Will’s idea to record this instrument for Focus@Will because” I thought a harp like sound might be a little distracting for some members. “
But John quickly cast aside his doubts after hearing Kora master John Hughes subtle articulations of the instrument strings: “it produced an ethereal “trance-like” performance quality. John Hughes doesn’t just play the instrument, he ‘channels’ it from source.”
John further explains the particular challenge was how to compress the plucky articulations of the instrument while keeping the natural meditative and live performance elements.
We experimented and found just the right mix of natural Kora performances subtleties, yet equalized, mixed, and mastered for a focus session. It’s such a bonus to have veteran sound engineer Peter Mccabe on our team. He has mixed and mastered dozens of hit records for major labels and artists. Together we are redefining how music is recorded and mixed for focus. This gives our members a unique experience with focus mixes that can only be heard on Focus@Will.
We also created a separate Kora channel soundscape with entrainment. This version has binaural beats and isochronic tones embedded in the Kora tracks, that will stimulate the brain from Hi alpha to beta state over the 75 min session. Plus, members can customize the volume level of the entrainment via the Intensity control (Low Med, High). The result is a customizable beautiful Kora soundscape that assists your brain waves into a focused state.
Vitale explained that recording Kora music “represents a new development for the Focus@Will team. We are dedicated to broaden our musical exploration, to discover and bring to our members unique instruments, musicians, and sounds, from around the world – all uniquely directed, recorded, and re-engineered to support cognitive performance. “
We are excited to release this new test channel to our members and can’t wait to hear YOUR feedback: email@example.com