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Four musical brothers + friend = Kora

Originally hailing from Whakatane, four musical brothers from the Kora family , Laughton, Francis, Stuart and Brad , began playing together as a band in the early 1990s under the name Auntie Beatrice, winning the national Rockquest high school band competition in 1991 and the East Coast region Battle Of The Bands three years running, earning a release on Tangata Records for their efforts.

In early 2002 Kora's core members Laughton and Francis recorded a four song demo while on holiday in Queenstown, sharing songwriting duties with local muso Dan McGruer who also joined them on bass guitar and keyboards, and inviting visiting Madagascan tourist Lilou to lay down vocals on the song "Barely Can See".

Kora's four track demo caught the attention of Wellington-based record label Recordings Aot(ear)oa in late 2002, leading to the release of "Barely Can See" on the label's LOOP Select 004 compilation CD in December. The track, touched up by enigmatic electronic musician Lee Tui, has been a critic's choice in many media reviews of the compilation:

"The high water mark is set with the opening track "Barely Can See", a stunning, guitar-kissed downbeat collaboration between the Kora brothers and a golden voiced tourist named Lilou" , Real Groove

"A sublime piece of pop artistry with a quiet, restrained hook and a vocal performance of which Jill Scott or India Arie would be proud" , The Dominion Post

"Newcomers Kora are the bomb" , SmokeCDs.com

Buoyed by the response to this debut release, Kora are now recording material towards a debut album for LOOP Recordings Aot(ear)oa in 2003. Expect to hear the boys themselves singing on future material, with a sound that's already been described as a fusion of TrinityRoots and Che Fu.

With Laughton and Francis now based in Wellington, the other Kora brothers remaining in Whakatane and Dan McGruer still residing in Queenstown, the band now sometimes appear live as a stripped back duo and at other times with their full five member line-up:

Laughton Kora , guitar/vocals
Francis Kora , bass guitar/vocals
Stuart Kora , guitar/vocals
Brad Kora , drums/vocals
Dan McGruer , bass guitar/keys/effects

Laughton and Francis' excellent duo performance in support of fellow LOOP artist 50Hz in Wellington last November has lead to numerous subsequent bookings around town and selection of the full band to play high profile slots at both the recent Radio Active 89FM One Love Waitangi Day celebrations:

"It was relative newcomers Kora that generated the biggest "Who were those guys?" buzz", The Package

...and Soundsplash 2003 Eco Reggae Festival in Raglan, at which they stole the show with guest MC KP from Downtown Brown's Queenstown-based Sunshine Soundsystem:

"Kora had an amazing presence, rich vocal harmonies and a uniquely pacific flavour. These boys were a highlight and next year will be a headlining act", Live