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Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, north Cote d’Ivoire, north Liberia, south Mauritania share common cultural traditions: 2,000+

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Presentation on theme: "Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, north Cote d’Ivoire, north Liberia, south Mauritania share common cultural traditions: 2,000+"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, north Cote d’Ivoire, north Liberia, south Mauritania share common cultural traditions: 2,000+ years of contact share common cultural traditions: 2,000+ years of contact speak closely related languages speak closely related languages e.g. Mandinka, Bambara, Jula, Khasonke, Wangara, Malinke believe in common origins believe in common origins traced to Sundjata, 13th c. hunter-warrior epic founder Mali Empire

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4 znyamakalaw: znyamakalaw: hereditary professional guilds yjeli (griot or bard, loremaster, praise-singer) ynumu (blacksmith - great occult power, authority) ygarankule (leatherworker) ykule (woodworker) znyama: nyamakalaw nyama znyama: occult powers and primal energies of creation and destruction; initiated members of nyamakalaw skilled artisans;wield and release nyama in practicing their professions.

5 zjeli griot nyama & occult secrets spoken word zjeli or griot master nyama & occult secrets of the spoken word, epic lore, genealogies, cultural wisdom, musical skills, poetic formulas & artful improvisation in oral performance. yhistory’s chronicler, analyzer, interpreter yartistic entertainer yadvisor and conscience of patrons ypreserver of social customs and values ymediator betw human parties, spiritual-human worlds

6 performance art “with the death of each old man, a library is burnt.” --Amadou Hampete Ba Professional narrator or griot Professional narrator or griot (jeli, jali, gewel, gawlo, mabo, gesere, jesere, etc creates as recites using open-ended formulas creates as recites using open-ended formulas (not just memorized and repeated) supported by singers, musicians, patrons, audience respondents adjusts content & performance adjusts content & performance (different audiences & occasions, local traditions & patrons, values & social conditions)

7 z legends of great exploits in “prose” and poetry z genealogy recitations z songs, chants z praise-names, praise- poems z proverbs, prayers z incantations, oaths, blessings, curses zLong poetic narratives spoken & sung to music zHeroic content: e.g. heroes attuned to destiny zModel clan-social relations, build cultural unity, preserve customs & values zOral performance traditions genre definition

8 zNarrative mode episodes zNarrative mode tells complex story in episodes based on place of action ytheme groups ytheme groups: genealogies, incantations, prayers, curses, ideophones, praise-names, proverbs, oaths zSong mode zSong mode celebrates important plot events zTransitions zTransitions between episodes (e.g. proverb) w/no break in performance Koralute-harp genre definition

9 Episode One: Prologue in Paradise [Praise Song, ll. 1-6] Nare Magan Konate! * Sorcerer-Seizing-Sorcerer! A man of power is hard to find. And four mastersingers(Indeed) O Kala Jula Sangoyi !** Sorcerer-Seizing-Sorcerer….(Mmm) * Sundjata ** Legendary bard of Old Mali griot Fa-Digi Sisoko, 1968

10 [ Adam, the forefather, & his successors evoked, ll. 7-30] I sing of Biribiriba* (Indeed) Of Naran Magan Konate *!…. Stump-in-the-Dark-of-Night * ! Should you bump against it, It will bump against you. (Indeed) [Transitional Proverb between episodes, ll ] What sitting will not solve, Travel will resolve…. (True) *Sundjata griot Fa-Digi Sisoko, 1968

11 From Episode 4: The Manden [Elder woman gives newborn Son-Jara gets his first praise-name, ll ] She lifted the edge of the cloth…. From the very top of Son-Jara’s head, (Indeed) To the very tip of his toes, all hair! (Indeed) The old mother went outside. (Indeed) She laughed out: “Ha! Birth-givers! Hurrah! “The little mother have borne a lion-thief.” (True) Thus gave the old mother Son-Jara his name. ….Son-Jara, Nare Magan Konate. (Indeed) Simbon, Lion-Born-of-the-Cat. (Indeed)

12 King Dankaran Touman’s mother [Sassouma Berete] hexes Son-Jara and makes him crippled, ll The Berete woman, She summoned to her a holy-man, Charging him to pray to God,(Indeed) So Son-Jara would not walk.(Indeed) And summoned to her an Omen Master, For him to read the signs in sand, (Indeed) So Son-Jara could not walk. (Indeed) For nine years, Son-Jara crawled upon the ground. Magan Konate could not rise. (Indeed) griot Fa-Digi Sisoko, 1968

13 Track 1: “Allah l’aake” [God’s Will] (recorded Kolda, Senegal) koras (21-stringed harp lute: cowhide stretched over large gourd), drums, & voice Track 2: “Sunjata” (recorded Tabato, Guinea-Bissau) balafon (wooden xylophone w/gourd resonators), drums, & voice Arr. Griot Foday Musa Suso CD: Jali Kunda (trans. Griot family): Griots of West Africa & Beyond (1997, Ellipsis Arts)


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